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The releationship between the romanian orthodox church and the

Iron iron guard


The Relationship between the Romanian Orthodox Church with the Iron
Guard was one of ambivalence: while the Romanian Orthodox Church supported
much of the fascist organization's ideology, it did not outright support the
movement. Nevertheless, many individual Orthodox clerics supported the Iron
Guard and spread their propaganda.
The Orthodox Church promoted its own version of nationalism which highlighted
the role of Orthodoxy in preserving the Romanian identity. Starting with the 1920s,
Orthodoxy became entangled with fascist politics and antisemitism: the most
popular Orthodox theologian at the time, Nichifor Crainic, advocated in his
magazine Gndirea a mix of Orthodoxy and nationalism, while philosopher Nae
Ionescu argued that Orthodoxy is inseparable from the Romanian identity.[1]
Iron Guard's Orthodoxism[edit]
A major theme in the ideology of the Iron Guard was Orthodoxism, which
separated them from other movements within the European fascism. While the
Italian Fascism and the German Nazism manifested a certain independence, if not
an outright hostility toward the Church, the Iron Guard combined Orthodox
mysticism with Romanian autochthonism and traditionalism.[2] While the Iron
Guard shared antisemitism with the their Western counterparts, they had a more
traditional societies' antisemitism, by seeing Jews as exponents of the modernity
which they rejected.[2]

Priests' collaboration with the Iron Guard[edit]


Many priests were active members in the Iron Guard, publishing articles
supporting it and being involved in its public processions, such during the Funerals
of Ion Moa and Vasile Marin, when the funeral procession of the two Iron Guard
members killed in Spain was led by over 200 Orthodox priests.[3]

After the Communist Party gained power, some priests who were members of the
Iron Guard were imprisoned for their collaboration with the fascists, while others
became informers of the Securitate.[4]

The church's senior hierarchy, including Patriarch Miron Cristea, had a reserved
attitude toward the Guard. Although there were exceptions such as Nicolae Blan,
who was an open supporter, the institutional church never offered systematic,
organized support for the movement. Nevertheless, the synod did give ambiguous
signals at times, for instance condemning the Guard's work camps before
endorsing them.[5]

Assassinations and pogroms[edit]


Orthodox Christian priests and theology students were part of the legionnaire
commanders in the Iron Guard death squads, as well as those inolved in
assassinations and anti-Jewish pogroms.[4] Four of the ten Decemviri who
assassinated political activist Mihai Stelescu were theology students.

Valerian Trifa, the head of the Christian Orthodox Students National Union was
one of the instigators of the 1941 Legionnaires' rebellion and Bucharest pogrom.[4]
During the Bucharest pogrom, theology students participated in the destruction of
the Jewish Synagogues. Among those students, notable are Teoctist Arpau (who
would become the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church) and Bartolomeu Anania
(who later became the Bishop of Cluj).[4] After the pogrom, a number of 422
priests and 19 cantors were sent before Military Tribunals for their role in the
rebellion and of them 262 were convicted.[6]