Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Romanian Orthodox Church criticizes Securitate collaborators verdicts delivered to clerics

The Associated Press Published: October 23, 2007

BUCHAREST, Romania: The Romanian Orthodox Church on Tuesday complained that a state body deliberately and illegally leaked information to the media about clerics accused of collaborating with the feared communist-era secret police.

The Holy Synod, the church's top decision-making body, said it will register a complaint with Parliament about the Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives, which is said leaked information with the aim of manipulating public opinion.

The Synod, which met for two days to discuss the matter said the Parliament-controlled council should have informed the church about allegations before going public. It also accused the council of leaking information before it had evaluating the files of some priests.

"The Council does not take into account the very difficult circumstances that the church had to overcome to survive (during communism) and cannot understand the humiliation and blackmail that Orthodox clerics had to endure. By its hasty and biased verdicts, the Council proves that it cannot objectively evaluate the activity of Orthodox priests under communism", said Bishop Vicentiu Ploiesteanul, after the Synod meeting.

Church spokesman Constantin Stoica said that many of the clerics accused of being Securitate informers will contest the verdicts in court.

Among those named as collaborators are Andrei Andreicut, bishop of Alba in northwest Romania; Bishop Calinic of Arges; and Bishop Pimen, long considered a vocal opponent of communism.

The new leader of the church, Patriarch Daniel, was cleared of collaboration because his files had been destroyed during the anti-communist uprising of 1989, but the council criticized him for not answering its questions.

The Romanian Orthodox Church, to which more than 80 percent of Romanians belong, has said in the past that collaboration with the Securitate should be considered an internal matter rather then an issue of public debate.

During Communism, thousands of priests were imprisoned or sent to labor camps, alongside tens of thousands of other political prisoners. Many signed pledges promising to be Securitate informants when they were released.



No comments: