Pilgrimage on St. Dumitru in Bucharest cancelled, BOR gives tough retort

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Romanian PM Ludovic Orban has announced on Monday that the St. Dumitru Pilgrimage in Bucharest will not be held this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, voicing hope that the Church representatives will understand the situation.

I am a faithful person who respects the Church and who has supported the projects of the Church. On the other hand, the risk of infection is very high. Let’s think of that, many believers who attend these religious ceremonies, these pilgrimages are elderly who are exposed to high risks.

We know that the parishes usually organize the pilgrimages, providing buses or vans to take the believers. But, as long the rides takes hours the social distancing and sanitary rules cannot be ensured.

I am confident that there is understanding within the Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR) for this decision and I ask believers to understand that we’ve done it only to protect their health”, PM Orban said.

The Romanian Orthodox believers celebrate St. Dumitru Izvorâtorul de Mir, and St. Dimitrie the New, who is also the patron of Bucharest, on October 27.

The spokesperson of the Romanian Patriarchy has slammed the Gov’t decision to cancel the pilgrimage. “The arrogance, the decision-making autarchy and the moral solipsism have not honoured and will not ever honour anybody. The negative imagination exercises at the highest level regarding the behaviour of believers (presumably declared suspects) can be really offending against the Church’s organization capacity and against the importance of the religious acts in the society (…)“, says Vasile Bănescu, BOR’s spokesperson.

He added that “the lack of dialogue among institutions, the decision regarding the cancellation of some fundamental liberties, like the religious freedom, of co-opting in the decisions with major public impact of some experts keen to politics and public health prove a superior excessive contempt for the immediate social reality”.

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