Bishop Melchisedec Ştefănescu and the problem of secularization of monastery estates
The life and work of the worthy to remember Bishop Melchisedec Ştefănescu is well known since he was an emblem of the nineteenth century, which radiated with his academic halo and fullness of the complete patriot throughout the period of his three bishoprics.
Being a man of great intellectual refinement, a worthy scholar of Christian morality, it was impossible for him not to take part in the events of his time. Therefore, his contemporaries decided that he, willfully or unwittingly, was the ideal person to represent the clergy before the state authorities.
Bishop Melchisedec was fully convinced a church can not influence the Romanian society if its representatives do not bless, do not sanctify, nor encourage the great movements and high aspirations of the nation. Along with brothers Scriban, he vote for the unification of the romanian principates in a single state under the name of Romania with the following points: a foreign prince from a ruling dynasty in Europe; neutrality of the principates territory; legislative power is entrusted to an elected representative from every classe of the nation etc. He supports the rights of the clergy and warmly advocates to improve the position of the secular clergy, which he supported all his life as a bishop, in the synod and in the Senate.
Bishop Melchisedec`s disgust increased as the state did not keep its promise. He was just used against his own church, being only promised respect for the Orthodox Church and all its properties, which, in fact, never happened. From that moment on, they wanted the Church to completely depend on the State. In a speech held in the Senate of Romania, Bishop Melchisedec said resentfully: they say everything had to be secularized, they are not satisfied that possessions were secularized, they want to secularize our kamilavka, our hair, our cassock, they want us to dress in coat. What have you got, gentlemen, with my attire and my kamilavka?
Bishop Melchisedec`s sacrifice remains as a model for those who protected the best interests of the country at all costs, because secularization would have happened anyway, but, without Bishop Melchisedec, it would have been much tougher. At the memorial service of Bishop Melchisedec Ştefănescu, at the celebration of 191 years since his birth, His Grace Dr. Ioachim Băcăuanul, Vicar Bishop of the Archdiocese of Roman and Bacău, confessed that every time we go to his tomb, we add a brick to the better understanding of his activity.
Keywords: Melchisedec Ştefănescu, secularization of the monasteries, nation, state, wages