Religious diplomacy and socialism. The Romanian Orthodox Church and the Church of England, 1956-1959

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This article analyzes the relationship between the Orthodox Church and the communist regime during one of the most intense periods of religious persecution in the Romanian People's Republic from 1956 to 1959. The church hierarchy demonstrated its support for the socialist construction of the country, while, at the same time, the regime began a campaign against religion by arresting clergy and reducing the number of religious people in monasteries; rumours even circulated that in 1958 Patriarch Justinian was under house arrest. Seeking closer contact with Western Europe, the regime allowed the hierarchy to meet foreign clergymen, especially from the Church of England. These diplomatic religious encounters played a double role. The regime realised that it could benefit from international ecclesiastical relations, while the image of Justinian in the West changed from that of "red patriarch" to that of a leader who was genuinely interested in his church's survival.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-42
Number of pages36
JournalEast European Politics and Societies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008


  • Romanian Orthodox Church
  • Church of England
  • communism
  • religious persecution
  • international ecclesiastical relations
  • funeral of Petru Groza
  • Patriarch Justinian Marina
  • Metropolitan Justin Moisescu


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