Gavriil Bănulescu-Bodoni. The Romanian from Ardeal who became a Russian metropolitan, but also a promoter of national interests in Bessarabia
The article refers to the personality of Metropolitan Gavriil Bănulescu Bodoni recently canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church. Russo-Turkish wars of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had made that any victory of the Russians would lead to the occupation of the two principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, and a „religious occupation”. The Russian Synod appointed Gavriil Bănulescu Bodoni as Metropolitan of Moldavia in early 1792. Gavriil Bănulescu Bodoni remained for a short time in the „Moldovan-vlahiiski” metropolitan seat because the Turks forced the Russians to withdraw from Moldavia and Prince Alexander Mourousis dismissed the him. His mission in Moldavia and Wallachia will end with the Peace of Bucharest of May 16, 1812, when he retired to the other side of the Prut as a former Exarch, but where he will become the Primate of a new diocese that he wanted and founded. His activity in Chisinau should also be taken into account as a „promoter of national interests in Bessarabia.” What he managed to do in his eight pastoral years in Chisinau entitles us to recognize his worthiness as founder, in at least three respects. He founded the Diocese of Chisinau and Hotin with the rank of a Metropolitan See; he set up the first secondary educational institution in Bessarabia, the Theological Seminary, as well as other schools that followed; he stimulated an intense activity of editing and printing books in Romanian, the culmination of this work being the Romanian Bible from St. Petersburg in 1819.