THE VILLAGE AND RURAL SPIRITUALITY
between tradition and modernity
May, 6-8, 2019

State and Church in World War II

Alin Albu“1 Decembrie 1918” University, Alba Iulia

State and Church in World War II. The political and ecclesiastical perspective on the national vocation of the Orthodox clergy

For the Romanians, the years of World War II were extremely difficult from a political point of view, marked by territorial losses and profound metamorphoses (abdications, government falls, Romania’s involvement in the war), which generated and maintained a severe political and economic insecurity. In such conditions, the State appealed to the Church, in which it identified the warrantor of preserving the vigour of the national feeling, so necessary in war circumstances and also the most credible partner in ensuring an internal stability from a national and social point of view. The clergy was now defined in the Government’s documents as one of the most important socio-professional categories, a genuine cohesion factor, which kept effective control over the masses, its spiritual and social assistance being considered an important part in the work of consolidating the country.

The reaction of the ecclesiastical hierarchy to this appeal was a positive one: the clergy was impelled to keep alive the national conscience, to preserve the ethnical being, to answer the State’s appeals and fulfill the pastoral vocation, as well as ”the national mission”.

Besides the vision of the political leaders and of the ecclesiastical hierarchy on the relation State-Church, on the national vocation of the priests, on the role of the Church in the Romanian society during war, it is interesting to analyse how these elements were assumed at the level of the conscience of the clergy and of some representatives of the local ecclesiastical bodies (the Orthodox Vicarage in Alba Iulia). It is also interesting to note the attitude of the clergy toward war.

We attempted to recompose (partially) the picture of these realities, based not on the existent bibliography, but on some inedited archive research, selecting a few samples out of the multitude of those to be found in the dossier of the problematics.

 Key words: World War II, the relation State-Church, the Vicarage of Alba Iulia, Orthodox hierarchy, national conscience.