Patriarch Daniel: Cathedral has a capacity of 5,000 churchgoers. It will always be cramped*Service for the consecration of the altar, officiated by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and His Beatitude Daniel
The National Salvation Cathedral was consecrated on Sunday by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Daniel, joined by several Romanian and foreign hierarchs, but also by thousands of pilgrims from Bucharest and from around the country.
Premier Viorica Dancila, Constitutional Court President Valer Dorneanu, as well as members of the Government were among the officials present. President Klaus Iohannis was invited at the event, but he announced he will be unable to attend because he will be at the extraordinary summit of the European Council in Brussels.
In line with the interior space available, the 2,000 official guests had access inside the Cathedral during the Holy Mass. The more than 30,000 churchgoers who came from all over the country to take part in the consecration of the altar of the National Salvation Cathedral waited for hours outside the Cathedral, watching the ceremony on the special screens. Many of them were dressed in folk costumes and carried tricolour flags.
“The National Salvation Cathedral has a capacity of 5,000 standing persons, the religious building being cramped for the mass of people who have come for the consecration,” Patriarch Daniel announced.
“Until Thursday, all Orthodox believers, men and women, will be able to enter the Holy Altar, kissing the Holy Bible, the Holy Cross and the Holy Table and asking for God’s help in strengthening their good wishes. We congratulate you, those who have come, and we are happy we can measure more realistically now how many persons can fit in the Cathedral sitting on chairs. So, we have room for 3,000 chairs in the Cathedral. When all faithful stand then the Cathedral has a capacity for 5,000. It is still small in relation to the mass of faithful outside. It will always be cramped. When the weather is nicer, we will be able to hold the Holy Mass outside too,” Patriarch Daniel stated at the start of the service.
Only official guests had access inside the Cathedral, the thousands of churchgoers who attended the event standing outside the Cathedral where they were able to watch the Holy Mass on special screens. At the end of Holy Mass, all Orthodox pilgrims were given access inside the Cathedral. The Cathedral will remain open to them in the following days too (November 26-29, “days of consecration”), and they will be able to enter the newly consecrated Holy Altar.
The events that mark the consecration of the National Cathedral started on Friday. His Holiness Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch, arrived at the Patriarchal Cathedral on Friday, at 12.45 p.m., being welcomed by His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel.
Bartholomew was accompanied by a delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchy, and a delegation of the Orthodox Church of Greece, led by His Holiness Father Hrisostom, Metropolitan Bishop of Patra. The Orthodox Church of Greece delegation brought with it the chest containing the hand of the Holy Apostle Andrew, Protector of Romania. The chest stayed inside the Patriarchal Cathedral on the Metropolitan Hill until Saturday, at 4 p.m., when it was placed on the porch of the chapel of the National Salvation Cathedral, where it stayed until 1 p.m. on Sunday, November 25.
This moment was followed at 5 p.m. by the commemoration service for Romanian heroes, officiated by the Romanian Patriarch and other hierarchs inside the National Cathedral.
ISU fined the constructor of the Cathedral for violating the fire safety rules
The People’s Salvation Cathedral does not have a fire safety certification because the structure is not complete yet, the Bucharest-Ilfov Emergency Inspectorate (ISU) said on Saturday.
“Organiser of the event is the Romanian Patriarchate, who has invited the public to participate in the consecration service of the church. At the moment, the structure is not completed, meaning that there is no question of a fire safety certification, which is the administrative document issued by emergency inspectorates at the completion of the construction before actual commissioning, according to the destination declared by the beneficiary,” according to an ISU press statement.
ISU Bucharest-Ilfov mentioned that it has fined the constructor of the cathedral 10,000 lei for violating the fire safety rules, adding that it informed the Metropolitan Bishopric of Muntenia and Dobrogea – the Archdiocese of Bucharest that, under the given conditions, it will be fully responsible for the safety of the attendees.
“We also want to mention that on November 23, 2018 ISU Bucharest-Ilfov fined the constructor 10,000 lei for violation of fire safety rules applicable to the construction of a site for this purpose. The penalty was enforced in accordance with the provisions of Article 19(q) of Law 307/2006 on fire prevention, as subsequently amended and supplemented, corroborated with the provisions of Article 6.6.5 of the Fire Prevention and Fire-fighting Technique C300 / 1994 during the execution of construction works and ISU Bucharest-Ilfov also informed the Metropolitan Bishopric of Muntenia and Dobrogea – the Archdiocese of Bucharest that, under the given conditions, it bears full responsibility for the safety of the participants,’ according to the ISU statement
The same source announced that the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) will ensure through its structures the safe conduct of the consecration of the People’s Salvation Cathedral “to mitigate any risk to the population.”
“Since the structure is not technically completed and there is a site nearby that cannot provide 100 percent safety conditions for a large number of participants, the Ministry of Interior has ordered the mobilisation of a large number of firemen , first responders, gendarmerie and police officers to act in the area to mitigate any risk to the population,” the statement said.
ISU Bucharest recommended those who want to attend the event to carefully handle sources of fire, to dress appropriately for the low temperatures during this period, especially at night time, not to stand for extended periods of time in the open where temperatures are low, not to expose children to low temperatures for extended periods of time. The participants were also advised to call the emergency number 112, if necessary, clear access ways in the area, not to take on improvised or non-public access routes, and not to stand near construction equipment to prevent unintentional injuries.
Designed to withstand earthquakes and stand for at least 500 years
The six bells of the Cathedral were built by the Grassmayr plant in Innsbruck, Austria, have a warranty of 15 years and an estimated lifespan of 400 years. They arrived in Romania on 19 May 2017 and weigh a total of 33 tons. They were paid exclusively from the Patriarchy’s funds, not from public funds, the Patriarchy claimed without pointing out how much they cost.
The main bell, dedicated to the ‘Heroes of the Nation,’ weighs more than 25 tons, being 3 meters high and 3 meters wide. It can be heard across a 15-kilometer radius during important events and holidays. In what concerns the quality of its sounds, it is ensured by the purity of the bronze alloy used by the foundry in Tirol – 78 percent electrolytic copper having 99.99 percent purity, and 22 percent electrolytic tin having the same purity. Each of the six bells are inscribed with the Patriarchy’s coat of arms, Patriarch Daniel’s effigy and an inscription that reads: “The blessing of Patriarch Daniel of Romania for the National Cathedral – Centenary 1918-2018.” The effigy of Patriarch Daniel on each bell has often stirred public controversies. The Patriarchy nevertheless explained that the effigy is a natural consequence of the Patriarch’s work in building the Cathedral. Moreover, such traditions are observed in the Catholic world too.
The National Salvation Cathedral is designed to stand at least 500 years and to withstand multiple earthquakes measuring over magnitude 8.5 on the Richter scale. According to the final design, the building’s basement will have six antiatomic shelters with a capacity of 300 persons each. The Cathedral’s foundation is a massive slab of reinforced concrete, consisting of no less than 25,000 tons of concrete and 15,000 tons of reinforcement bars. The Patriarchy explained that the location of the National Salvation Cathedral, behind the Palace of Parliament, was not selected by accident. During the communist era there were five churches there. Three of them were demolished by Nicolae Ceausescu.
In the end, the Cathedral will be a mix of Romanian, Byzantine and Western architectural elements. The Cathedral complex will include four auxiliary buildings, including a house and canteen for pilgrims, a centre of diagnosis and treatment for the least privileged, an institutional conference centre, and an underground museum of Christianity.
PM Dancila on National Cathedral: It’s the achievement of Romanians. The pride is not mine as Premier
Premier Viorica Dancila, who took part in the consecration service, said that the Cathedral is “the achievement of Romania,” a project we can take pride in as Romanians.
The Head of Government added that inside the Cathedral she had “a feeling of peace and joy.”
“It’s a feeling of peace and at the same time a feeling of joy. It’s a national event, the National Cathedral, Romania’s Cathedral, in the centenary year and before the National Day of Romania,” Dancila explained.
Asked what the fulfilment of this project means for her, the Premier said: “The achievement of Romania, of Romanians and of Romania. A project and a moment we can take pride in. This pride is not mine as Prime Minister. It’s the pride that every Romanian should have in their soul.”
President Iohannis welcomed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, BOR Patriarch Daniel
President Klaus Iohannis on Saturday welcomed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople – New Rome, and Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR).
“Your Beatitude, your visit today together with His Holiness is a great pleasure to me,” said Iohannis on this occasion.
“And to us it is an honour,” said Daniel.
The meeting took place at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
President Klaus Iohannis on Friday sent a letter to Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church indicating that he will not take part in the consecration of the People’s Salvation Cathedral in Bucharest.
“Your Beatitude, thank you for the warm invitation to attend the ceremony of consecration of the People’s Salvation Cathedral. Unfortunately, for reasons related to the European agenda, I will not be able to take part in the event on Sunday, November 25, 2018,” Iohannis says in his letter.
President Iohannis emphasised that the consecration of the cathedral represents, for the Christian Orthodox believers in the country and diaspora, a celebration of a special historical and symbolic charge.
“The participation of Ecumenical Patriarch His Holiness Bartholomew I, along with the hierarchs of the sister Orthodox churches, reveals the deep connection that unites us in the spirit of Christian faith and values that the Church cultivates in society,” reads the presidential letter.
Patriarch Daniel: With the help of God, we consecrated the Altar of the National Cathedral
Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR) voiced his hope on Sunday that, three years from now, the mosaic painting of the People’s Salvation Cathedral be sanctified, whose Altar was consecrated in the presence of His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Patra and members of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
“With the help of God, we consecrated the Altar of this cathedral called the Salvation of the Nation, or the National Cathedral. Let’s praise the Lord and thank all those who have helped us and who will help us further. Because, as you can see, there are some works to be done in order to complete the pantocrator steeple, the central steeple and then the painting of the church in mosaic. We hope to return three years from now to consecrate the painting in this cathedral,” Patriarch Daniel said after reading the Sanctification Act.
Patriarch Daniel announced that after the Divine Liturgy and until Thursday, “all Orthodox believers, men and women, will be able to enter the Holy Altar, kiss the Holy Gospel, the Holy Cross and the Holy Table and ask for God’s help in their wishes for the better.”
The consecration act reviewed the history of building the People’s Salvation Cathedral, starting 1877, when the necessity to build a national cathedral in Bucharest was felt and until now, when the consecration of the cathedral was officiated. The document is signed by His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Patra and all the high hierarchs attending the consecration ceremony.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew says Dealul Arsenalului transformed in hill of peace through Cathedral consecration
His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stated on Sunday in the sermon he delivered at the end of the Divine Liturgy officiated in the People’s Salvation Cathedral that through the consecration of this Cathedral, Dealul Arsenalului (the Arsenal Hill) transformed in the hill of peace.
“Today, through the consecration of the Cathedral dedicated to the Ascension of Christ and St. Andrew the First-Called, Dealul Arsenalului, meaning the place where weapons were repaired and stored, transformed into the hill of peace and holiness, [transformed into] the hill of grace and blessing, not only for Bucharest, but also for the entire Romania. The great spiritual light lit on its top the New Cathedral and the Patriarchal Church. It will shine the light of Christ far away and send the message of hope and salvation to those close and far away,” His Holiness stated.
His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew wished to Patriarch Daniel and the hierarchs, the clergy, the dignitaries and all the believers of the Romanian Church “long days, physical and soul health.” “May you enjoy the light of this lighthouse – cathedral and worship always inside it with worthiness, in the Spirit and in truth to the Lord and Savior of our souls and bodies!,” His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew concluded.