On 28 September 2014, in his residence in Timiszara, the Orthodox archbishop Nicolae Corneau died at the of 90, who was the metropolitan of Banat – one of the most multinational and multi-religion regions of Europe – divided among three countries: Romania, Hungary and Serbia. Personal honourable relationship with this extraordinary ecumenical hierarch orders me to say a few words to his remembrance.

During half a century (from 1962)of his bishopric ministry, Nicolae Corneau became a kind of a symbol of Timiszoara, after December 1989, somehow parallel to the so-called revolution, its victims, eulogists and beneficiaries.

On 25 May 2008, during the ceremony of sanctifying a newly built Greek-Catholic church of the Queen of Peace and Unity in Timiszoara, during the Liturgy celebrated by the apostolic nuncio in Bucharest archbishop Francisco-Javiera Lozano, the Orthodox metropolitan of Banat asked for cooperation in the Communion of Body and Blood, for the first and the last time then – in the Church, as brotherly as ‘treacherous’ (not only after 1948) for the orthodox synod. The plenary meeting of the synod in June condemned the metropolitan Corneanu, and Bartolomeu Anania, the metropolitan of Transylvania and the main adversary of the metropolitan of Banat for years, applied for his ‘caterisire’, that is, suspending. Archbishop Nicolae effectively asked co-brothers for forgiveness and the synod forbade formally co-participation of orthodox priests in Catholic Holy Masses. It should be added that in 1990 Nicolae Corneanu, as the only Orthodox bishop, gave the cathedral to Greek-Catholic, exactly speaking – bishop Ioan PLoscaru in Lugoj, appointed just after the ‘revolution’.

After other ‘non-orthodox’ moves of the Chief Pastor, the synod deprived him of the right to issue documents of the Orthodox Church. The Metropolitan Corneanu as the only hierarch of the Orthodox Church in Romania, publicly admitted to cooperation with the Romanian security service Securitate and apologized everyone who was hurt by it. In 2011 the metropolitan left his post and moved to the monastery, and his place was taken over by the administrator of synod.

Archbishop Corneanu was the only one who supported ecumenical words and steps of the pope, especially John Paul II. In August 1991 several buses of the Romanian youth arrived in Częstochowa. As a new advisor of the embassy in Bucharest I was delegated by the ambassador Zygmunt Komorowski for good course of the ‘pilgrimage’ of about 3 thousand citizens of Romania arriving for the World Youth’s Days. Later I met with one of the groups at the metropolitan’s residence. It was impossible to take them out of the Chapel, from the Icon. Since that year, Timiszoara has always taken place on other World Youth’s Days and will surely be present in Kraków in 2016.


„Niedziela” 43/2014

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl