The Cathedral of National Redemption in Bucharest has been consecrated on Sunday, November 25, after eight years of construction works, in the presence of tens of thousands of believers countrywide. Unofficial records point to 40,000 pilgrims who would have attended the consecration service, which has been officiated by the Patriarch of Romanian Orthodox Church, Daniel, next to 100 priests and by His Holiness Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, who arrived in Romania for this even on Friday.
Only 2,000 officials had access inside the cathedral during the religious service, among whom there was PM Viorica Dancila. The churchgoers were able to watch the ceremony on the esplanade in front the cathedral, while they were allowed on the altar for worshiping after the service. Both men and women are allowed on the altar until Thursday, November 29. Women are not regularly allowed on the altar, according to the Orthodox religion.
The Cathedral can host about 5,000 people standing.
Patriarch Daniel voiced hope that the mosaic painting of the Cathedral will be consecrated in three years.
“We have room for 3,000 seats inside the Cathedral and for 5,000 believers while standing. It is still small as compared with the people waiting outside. It will always be small. When the weather is fine, we will be able to officiate the Holy Mass outside”, said the Patriarch.
PM Dancila who attended the religious consecration service has said the cathedral represents „the making of Romania” and it is a project with which we can be proud that we are Romanians.
The premier added she had a „feeling of peace and joy” inside the cathedral. „It is a national event, in a Centennial Year,” she said.
President Klaus Iohnnis has been also invited to attend the event, but he announced he could not participate as he is in Brussels attending the extraordinary meeting of the European Council.
However, the head of state welcomed the Patriarch of Romanian Orthodox Church, Daniel, next to 100 priests and by His Holiness Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, at Cotroceni Palace on Saturday, wishing them fruitful ministries and delivering to the believers attending the consecration service “his best wishes and peace of mind.”
110 people attending the consecration service of the National Cathedral needed medical care on Sunday, with ten being taken to hospital.
On the other hand, the Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (ISU) has fined the constructor of the Cathedral with RON 10,000 for breaking the fire security norms enforceable to the organisation of a building yard.
At present, the cathedral’s construction is not finished, that’s why the existence of a fire security permit is out of the questions, explained ISU.
The Romanian and international mass media reported that the event was marred amid scuffles that broke out between riot police and Orthodox believers, who queued to enter the cathedral after the consecration service.