Since I started walking, I remember hearing my parents and grandmothers talking about the importance of religion for us, Romanians. That it was our religion, Orthodoxy, that kept us together as a people while generations after generations of invaders tried to put a hold on our country. As an old Romanian poem that I often like to quote says, “we bent like the reeds in the wind, but never broke.” Many attribute our great resistance to our great voievozi or rulers and to our religion, our Romanian Orthodox Church.
Nowadays, Romania is a country predominantly Orthodox with 86.8% of the population belonging to this church, which is the only Eastern Orthodox church preaching in a Romance language and the second largest after the Russian Orthodox church.
In the Baltimore area there is no Romanian Orthodox church, though the Holy Cross one in Alexandria, VA often puts together events for the entire Romanian community in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland.
Since I’ve been living in the U.S., I’ve made several trips back home and often was impressed with the beauty, old age and the long-lasting spiritual importance Romanians give to this church.
These pictures represent some famous monasteries and churches specific to the Eastern side of Romania, also known as Moldova or Moldavia [not to be confused with Republic of Moldova].
Many of these holy sanctuaries were built centuries ago by Stephen the Great or Stefan cel Mare, one of Romania’s most prominent rulers or voievozi, who is said that built a monastery for every battle he won.
Stephen the Great was victorious in 44 out of 48 battles during his reign, 1457 – 1504.
Defender of the Romanian Orthodox faith and thus of Christianity, Stephen the Great was canonized almost 500 years after his death, in 1992, and he’s often being referred to as Stephen the Great and the Holy.
A very popular sight in the Romanian Carpathians nowadays: a cross on a mountain top.