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November 1, 2011

Former Transylvania Metropolitan Andrei Saguna, Canonized in Sibiu

October 30th, 2011

Metropolitan Andrei Saguna, former Metropolitan of Transylvania between 1864 and 1873, was canonized at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Sibiu on Saturday, in a ceremony attended by about 10,000 people, according to Mediafax news agency. Among those who attended the Sibiu ceremony were President Traian Basescu, Social Liberal Union leader Victor Ponta, Greater Romania Party (PRM) leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor, Sibiu Mayor Klaus Johannis, Economy Minister Ion Ariton, Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi and other officials. The service was also attended by local authorities and representatives of several religious denominations in Romania.

The Holy Liturgy held in the cathedral on the occasion was conducted by about 50 Romanian and foreign priests, led by Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Daniel and Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria.

At the end of the canonization service, Transylvania Metropolitan Laurentiu Streza urged all those present in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Sibiu to respect the “eight-word testament left by Andrei Saguna: “Keep peace, maintain good ties, do not fight.”

President Basescu also held a speech after the service, saying that Saguna “understood that school, education, culture are a people’s elements of eternity.” “Such a forefather today becomes a saint and I will not miss the opportunity to bow to the holy church figures present here and to Saint Andrei Saguna,” Basescu ended his speech, according to Mediafax.

But the president’s presence at the service and his discourse were heavily criticized by PRM leader Vadim Tudor, who also slammed Transylvania Metro­politan Church officials who allowed the head of state to give his speech in the church. “Now he’s talking in the church, he can no longer speak in public because people boo him and he ended up speaking in church. This event was politicized,” Vadim Tudor said.

Proclamation Of The Canonization Of Saint Hierarch Andrei Saguna, Metropolitan of Transylvania

Today, 29 October 2011, the proclamation of the canonization of Saint Hierarch Andrei Saguna, Metropolitan of Transylvania, took place in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Sibiu, in the presence of the Greek and Romanian hierarchs. Many representatives of the state institutions, and Mr. Traian Basescu, President of Romania, too, were present, as well as representatives of the government, of the sister Churches, local authorities, archpriests, priests, professors and people of culture, young students and pupils, and thousands of faithful who wanted to attend.

The feast began with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy officiated by the two patriarchs, together with the group of hierarchs, priests and deacons.

After the Divine Liturgy, the proclamation ceremony of the canonization of Saint Metropolitan Andrei Saguna began with the speech of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel who spoke about the worship of the saints in the Orthodox Church, especially about Saint Hierarch Andrei Saguna: “Saint Hierarch Andrei Saguna unfolded a special activity marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit. One says the Holy Spirit does not appear in the lazy bored humans. Whenever somebody is lazy and bored it is a sign that he or she does not have the Holy Spirit in him or her. The Holy Spirit is shown in the people full of faith, of enthusiasm, of living the desire to love God and help his fellow beings. Saint Andrei Saguna impresses us with his unlimited love for Christ, for His saints and His Church. We are surprised how much could write and work this man. He built hundreds of Romanian schools in Transylvania and two high schools. He set up Telegraful roman newspaper, which has appeared uninterruptedly till today, as missionary means of spreading faith and defending the Romanians unity and dignity in Transylvania. He translated the Holy Scriptures in four volumes and praised Saint Simeon Stefan whom we shall proclaim saint tomorrow, after the Holy Synod approved his canonization, in Alba Iulia, because he translated the New Testament into Greek. Saint Andrei Saguna bequeathed us the church statutes which our Church still uses in large part. He fought a tireless fight for defending Orthodoxy and dignity of the Orthodox in Transylvania.”

Further on the synodal Tomos was read by His Grace Ciprian Campineanul, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch and Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

There followed the speech of the Patriarch of Alexandria who appreciated that “as soon as I end this pilgrimage to Romania I will go back to Africa and continue my missionary journeys to 18 countries and I will take with me this joy I lived these days over here. This is why I feel I shall go back much strengthened and feel stronger when I go for 7 or 8 hours on the roads still unused in the tropical forests of Africa, fully convinced that Your Beatitude’s prayers will accompany me, as well as those of all hierarchs, clergy and Christian righteous from here, from Romania.”

His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysostom spoke, in his turn, about the importance of this special event.

The Metropolitan of Patras offered His Eminence Laurentiu of Transylvania an epitrachelion and a hierarch’s omophorion, and a blessing cross for the Metropolitan Cathedral “on behalf of the clergy and righteous people of Patras city”.

His Eminence Metropolitan Laurentiu expressed in his speech his joy to have lived this blessed moment, and offered, in the end, the Patriarch of Romania, a blessing cross, an icon of Saint Hierarch Andrei Saguna, Metropolitan of Transylvania, three original writings of Saint Hierarch Andrei Saguna, as well as an album dedicated to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Sibiu. His Eminence has also offered the Patriarch of Alexandria a blessing cross and an icon of Saint Hierarch Andrei Saguna, while His Eminence Metropolitan Chrisostom offered him the icon of Saint Hierarch Andrei Saguna, as well as to all the members of the delegation.

To end with, the President of Romania, Mr. Traian Basescu eulogized the personality of Saint Hierarch Andrei Saguna, Metropolitan of Transylvania.