A Mass was held Saturday evening at Sf. Vasile cel Mare Greek Catholic Church in Bucharest in honour of His Holiness Vladimir Ghika, the first Romanian bi-ritual priest, who served both in the Latin and Eastern Rite.
The Beatification of Monsignor Vladimir Ghika brought together over 8,000 people at the Romexpo compound in Bucharest, including priests, churchgoers from the U.S. and Lebanon and Romanian politicians and artists, Mediafax reports. The Central Pavilion at Romexpo was filled with churchgoers an hour before the Beatification ceremony of Vladimir Ghika even started. Dressed in traditional costumes and holding Romanian flags in their hands, people expressed their excitement and joy to be taking part in such an event. “I have come from Bacau. It’s the most important event in my life. My children live in Bucharest, so I was able to stay in the capital a few days”, a woman said. Another woman from Moldova (…) stated she was really keen to participate in this event that is “a great joy”.
Politicians such as former Romanian presidents Ion Iliescu and Emil Constantinescu also arrived in due time. Former Prime Ministers Adrian Nastase and Calin Popescu Tariceanu, accompanied by their wives, as well as Victor Ciorbea, Counsellor to the President Cristian Diaconescu, the Romanian Ambassador attached to the Holy See Bogdan Tataru-Cazaban, former Minister of Culture Theodor Paleologu, mayor of District 1 Andrei Chiliman and mayor of District 2 Neculai Ontanu also attended the ceremony. Historian Neagu Djuvara, who had been wed by Vladimir Ghika, was also present, as well as scholars Eugen Simion, Constantin Balaceanu-Stolnici and Dan Berindei and writer Stelian Tanase. In addition to other religious cults, the Orthodox Romanian Church (BOR) was represented by Partriarchal Vicar Bishop Varlaam Ploiesteanul.
Cardinal and Paris Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois, successor of the one who had given Vladimir Ghika the sacrament of Holy Orders more than 90 years ago, was part of the 200 attending priests. The Mass was officiated by Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to the Holy See, and opened with reading the apostolic letter by which Pope Francis I approved Vladimir Ghika’s beatification and named him “His Holiness”. At the end of the ceremony, Roman Catholic Archbishop Ioan Robu thanked the members of the audience, including the 30 members of the Ghika family. The Mass was attended by churchgoers from various European countries, as well as from the U.S. and Lebanon. Ioan Robu also thanked the postulators who had been working for years to finalise the beatification file.
Following the Beatification, Vladimir Ghika can be publicly worshipped by both Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic believers and liturgically celebrated on 16 May, the day of his death. Monsignor Vladimir Ghika’s beatification is the first such event in the history of the Roman Catholic Archdiose in Bucharest and is considered to be the second most important religious event for the local Catholic Church, after Pope John Paul’s visit to Romania.