ONE @ 50: Romanian Easter

In honor of ONE magazine’s 50th-anniversary year, the CNEWA blog series, ONE @ 50: From the Vault, aims to revive and explore the wealth of articles published in ONE magazine throughout its history. This Easter season, read about the Easter traditions of Romanian Catholics in the United States, originally published in the Spring 1985 edition of ONE magazine.

Read an excerpt from “Romanian Easter” below, then read the full story.

“Hristos a inviat!” (Christ is risen!)

“Adevarat a inviat!” (Truly He has risen!)

How joyously the Easter greeting and its response are exchanged in the Romanian community. Catholic or Orthodox, all share the greeting and the deep gladness it announces.

Following the Byzantine rite in the practice of their faith, Romanian Christians had been Orthodox for centuries. In 1700 the entire Church in Transylvania – the northwestern region of modern day Romania – returned to union with Rome. The reunion reaffirmed their identity as a Latin people who trace their origins to A.D. 101, when the Roman emperor Trajan sent imperial legions to conquer ancient Dacia in southeastern Europe.

Most of the Romanians who emigrated to the United States came from Transylvania; the name means “the land beyond the forests.” Of the cherished customs they brought with them, none are prized more than their religious traditions. Settling in areas where they could find work as unskilled laborers, they rapidly established parishes in which to worship God in their way. Sixteen parishes in the eastern United States, located in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, now serve the spiritual needs of 2,000 Romanian Catholics. Their spiritual leader in the United States is Bishop Louis Puscas, an apostolic exarch, whose see is in Canton, Ohio.

With the approach of Easter, every household prepares for the glorious feast. Early on Easter Sunday morning, as dawn begins to lighten the sky, the Romanian Catholic family has already awakened. Those of Transylvanian ancestry, especially, repeat not only the joyful greeting and its response, but also the traditions learned from their parents and grandparents.

Read more.

Father Muresan is pastor of St. Nicholas Romanian Catholic Church in East Chicago, Ind., and editor of Unirea (The Union), a monthly publication of the Romanian Catholic Exarchate of America.

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