Republic in the Balkan Peninsula.
Christianity was introduced into Rumania by the Romans, who used the Latin form and liturgy.
An episcopal see existed in Tomi, nine bishops of which (4th and 6th centuries) are on record.
During the Bulgar domination in the 9th century, the ancient Catholic Church of Rumania disappeared and the people placed themselves under the jurisdiction of the Greek Patriarch of Constantinople and were thus drawn into the Greek Schism.
The greatest enemy in these early times was the Turk, but by their zealous defense of their religion the ancestors of the present Rumanians upheld the culture and civilization of the Christian West from the onslaught of Islam.
The earliest evidences of the modern Catholic Church in Rumania appeared in the 13th and 14th centuries, as a result of Hungarian and Polish immigrations.
Several Catholic dioceses were erected in the Middle Ages.
In 1246 a bishopric was founded at Severin on the Danube, and a third Catholic diocese was established at Sereth, 1370.
The Diocese of Arges dates from 1381, the fifth see was created at Baja, and the Diocese of Bacau was founded in 1607.
Since the bishops of these dioceses did not reside within their territory, the spiritual care of the people was undertaken by Franciscans and Dominicans, who erected many monasteries.
Stephen the Great (1457-1504) organized the Church, erected a new bishopric, and founded several churches and monasteries.
His son, Bogdan III, allowed the maintenance of the Christian faith, the free election of its princes, and independent domestic administration.
At the time of the Reformation, the majority of the Catholics sided with either the Greek schismatics or the Protestants.
The ministrations to the few who remained faithful were carried on by the Conventuals from Constantinople, who are responsible for the maintenance of the Catholic faith in Rumania and the building of a church in Bucharest, 1633.
The See of Sofia established at the beginning of the 17th century was occupied chiefly by Franciscan Observants, who gradually replaced the Conventuals as missionaries.
During the 17th and 18th centuries there grew up a flourishing ecclesiastical literature and spiritual lyrical poetry.
The foundations of Rumanian culture were laid, and the Rumanian language began to replace the Old Slavonic.
From 1712 to 1821, the gloomiest period for the Rumanians, a large portion of their land was given to Greek monasteries in the east and much of its income left the country.
The Passionists had arrived in Bucharest, 1781, and the Christian Brothers and religious orders of women came between 1852 and 1863.
The Archdiocese of Bucharest was erected in 1883.
In 1885 the independence of the Orthodox Church in Rumania from the Patriarchate of Constantinople was effected.
Immigrations from Austria and Hungary in the 19th century increased the number of Catholics, and a reorganization of the Catholic Church in Rumania was necessary.
A concordat with the Holy See was concluded in July 1929.
According to the constitution the Greek Orthodox is the State Church, but all religious bodies enjoy absolute freedom of worship.
State support was given only to the Orthodox Church.
Romania was part of the Allied Powers in World War I.
In 1940 it allied with the Axis powers, and helped invade the USSR in 1941; they lost.
Post-war Soviet occupation led to Communist rule in 1947 and the abdication of the king.
The dictator Nicolae Ceausescu took power in 1965; his police state was overthrown in 1989, and a republic founded.
Ecclesiastically the country is governed by the archdioceses of
the dioceses of
- Oradea Mare
- Satu Mare
- Ordinariate of the Faithful of Eastern Rite (Armenian)
New Catholic Dictionary