On April 13, 1948, the
constitution of the Romanian People's Republic was published. With this date,
for the Roman Catholic as well as for the Greek Catholic Church in Romania a
way of suffering and suppression began, which only ended on December 22, 1989,
when the last dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown.
At the beginning of this dark
period the Romanian episcopate had these members:
Alba Iulia: 1938 - 1980 Bishop
Bucuresti: 1924 - 1954 Archbishop Alexandru Cisar
Iasi: 1947 - 1951 Bishop Anton
Durcovici, 1944 - 1947 Administrator Bp. Markus (Marcu) Glaser
Satu Mare: 1942 - 1952 Bishop János Scheffler
Timisoara: 1930 - 1954 Bishop
While Archbishop Cisar was
hindered to administer his diocese from 1949 on, the other bishops were
imprisoned. Bishop Glaser was imprisoned in May 1950 and died the same month. Bishop Durcovici starved on December 11, 1951, in the jail of
Sighet; on October 31, 2013, his martyrdom was officially testified, and on
May 17, 2014, his beatification took place. Bishop János Scheffler died on December 6, 1952 at Bucarest. His martyrdom was
officially recognized by the Holy See on July 1, 2010, and he was
beatified on July 3, 2011 at Satu Mare.
Augustin Pacha, Bishop of
Cluj-Gherla: 1917 - 1970 Bishop Iuliu Hossu, 1969 Cardinal "in pectore"
Fagaras si Alba Iulia: 1940 - 1953
Administrator Bp. Ioan Suciu
Fagaras si Alba Iulia: 1940 - 1950
Auxiliary Bishop Vasile Aftenie
Lugoj: 1936 - 1959 Bishop Ioan Bălan
Maramures: 1930 - 1963 Bishop
Oradea Mare: 1922 - 1952 Bishop
Valeriu Traian Frentiu
From 1949 onwards, all Greek
Catholic bishops were imprisoned. Bishop Aftenie was shot in the Departement
of Interior's prison on May 10, 1950, and also bishops Suciu and Frentiu died in
prison on June 27, 1953, respective on July 11, 1952. Bishop Rusu died on May 5, 1963,
in presence of Rev. Emil Riti, in jail at Gherla. The beatification of these
six prelates is planned for 2019.
During the communist regime the
Greek Catholic Church was suppressed brutaly, and for the latin rite as well
it was only possible to consecrate very few new bishops:
Alba Iulia: 1971 - 1990 Coadjutor
Antal Jakab, 1980 Bishop
Alba Iulia: 1981 - 1990 Auxiliary
Bishop Lajos Bálint
Bucuresti: 1984 - 1990
Administrator Bp. Ioan Robu
Iasi: 1965 - 1977 Petru Plesca,
Titular Bishop of Voli, consecrated by Cardinal Confalonieri in Rome.
Episcopacy of Martyrs: united Bishops Ioan Suciu, Alexandru Rusu, Valeriu
Traian Frentiu, Iuliu Hossu,
Ioan Bălan and Vasile Aftenie
The clandestine Cardinal: Iuliu
Hossu, shortly before his death and on the bier, May 29, 1970.
Confessors of Faith: Vasile Afenie and Ioan
In 1948, with Anton Durcovici the
for a long time last official bishop of the catholic church in Romania was
consecrated. Following, several clandestine bishop's consecrations took place.
All new bishops of the first three generation were imprisoned afterwards for
Bishop Consecrations by Mgr.
Gerald Patrick O’Hara, Bishop of Savannah-Atlanta and Regent of the
Apostolic Nunciature in Romania from 1946 up to his expulsion on July 4/5, 1950:
05.04.1948 Anton Durcovici, Bishop
of Iasi, + 11.12.1951
left: Bishop Bl. Anton Durcovici;
right: after the consecration ceremony at St. Joseph's,
Bucuresti: Archbishop Alexandru Cisar, Nuncio Gerald Patrick O'Hara and Bishop
Bl. Anton Durcovici
Secret Bishop Consecrations by Mgr. O'Hara in
the Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature:
30.11.1948 Ioan Ploscaru, Titular
Bishop of Trapezopoli and Auxiliary Bishop of Lugoj, + 31.07.1998
08.12.1948 Ioan Duma, Titular
Bishop of Giuliopoli, + 16.07.1981
12.12.1948 Adalbert Boros, Titular
Bishop of Ressiana and Ap.
Administrator of Timisoara, + 06.06.2003
02.02.1949 Alfréd Eröss, Auxiliary
Bishop of Alba Iulia, + 31.07.1950
14.02.1949 Szilárd István
Constantin Bogdánffy, Auxiliary Bishop of Satu Mare si Oradea Mare, + 02.10.1953
06.03.1949 Ioan Maria Dragomir,
Titular Bishop of Paleopoli di Pamfilia and Auxiliary Bishop of Maramures, + 25.04.1985
28.07.1949 Iuliu Hirtea, Titular
Bishop of Nebbi and Auxiliary Bishop of Oradea Mare, + 28.06.1978
30.06.1950 Joseph Schubert,
Titular Bishop of Ceramussa and Ap.
Administrator of Bucuresti, + 04.04.1969
Bishop Bogdánffy died in Aiud
prison; his martyrdom was officially recognized on March 27, 2010. On October
30, 2010, his beatification in Oradea Mare took place.
Clandestine Bishops Ioan
Ploscaru and Adalbert Boros
Per crucem ad lucem:
clandestine bishop Ioan Duma, O. F. M. Conv. (on the left with his doctor and
her mother, 1970)
Clandestine Bishops Iuliu Hirtea
and Bl. Szilárd Bogdánffy
Bishop Ioan Maria Dragomir
(1905 - 1985)
Secret Bishop Consecration by
Mgr. Joseph Schubert, Titular Bishop of Ceramussa and Ap. Administrator of
19.11.1950 Alexandru Todea,
Titular Bishop of Cesaropoli, + 22.05.2002
Additionaly, Hieronymus Menges was
scheduled for consecration to replace Bishop Schubert in the case of his
imprisonment. In fact, this consecration never took place, bevause Mons.
Schubert went to jail without having had the opportunity for the ceremony. From 1951 up to
1952, Menges was special delegate of Bucuresti during Bishop Schubert's imprisonment,
in prison himself since 1952, before he was released in 1964. He now rejected
the episcopal dignity which was offered to him by the communist authorities.
In 1966 he was deported to Munich. He died in Bremen in 2002.
Both Romanian Cardinals: Iuliu Hossu
and Alexandru Todea. This Photo was taken 1969 in the Monastery of Caldarusani,
the deportation place of Mgr. Hossu.
From Cardinal Todea's Family
Album: Student of Philosophy at the Athenaeum of Propaganda Fide, Rome 1935 -
with his parents Gheorghe and Maria, deceased 1944 resp. 1956 - with three of
his sisters, 1976.
Secret Bishop Consecrations by
Mgr. Valerian Traian Frentiu, united Bishop of Oradea Mare:
25.04.1949 Titu Liviu Chinezu,
Titular Bishop of Regiana and Auxiliary Bishop of Făgăraş
şi Alba Iulia, + 15.01.1955
25.12.1949 Ioan Chertes, Titular
Bishop of Campania
and Auxiliary Bishop of Cluj-Gherla, + 31.01.1992
Bishop Chinezu died in Sighet
prison. His beatification is scheduled for 2019. Bishop Cherteş, who's consecration date later was published as of
December 25, 1949, indeed seems to became consecrated already in spring 1949,
i. e. before papal approvement, at Caldarusani monastery, where the Greek
Catholic bishops had been confined.
Clandestine Bishops Titu Liviu
Chinezu and Ioan Chertes
Secret Bishop Consecration by
Mgr. Alexandru Cisar, Archbishop of Bucuresti:
00.00.1951 Gyözö Viktor Macalik,
Titular Bishop of Azoto and Auxiliary Bishop of Alba Iulia, + 17./19.08.1951
The consecration took place
without co-consecrators in Bucharest; in August, 1951, bishop Macalik was
arrested and assassinated.
Gavrila Stan, in Oradea, by Iuliu Hirtea?
Simion Crisan, in Blaj, by Iuliu Hirtea or Ioan Dragomir?
Stan, rector of the Theologian Acadamy at Oradea, was arrested for a while as
soon as 1948; from 1951 up to 1955 he again was imprisoned. Indeed he was
designated for the bishopric but was not consecrated, after the Nunciature got
knowledge of his obvious non-celibacy life.
Mons. Crisian was imprisoned from 1952 up to 1955 as well as from 1958 up to
1964 and afterwards a simple worker in Aiud and in Alba Iulia. Today we know
he was not intended as a bishop and never consecrated; the same is regarded in
the case of the priest Aureliu Lelutiu (born on April 21, 1914, at
and deceased on
December 23, 1980, at Blaj), who, after studies in Rome, worked as professor
in Blaj and who was imprisoned from 1951 up to 1964.
Secret Bishop Consecrations by
Mgr. Ioan Maria Dragomir:
12.01.1983 Octavian Cristian,
Bishop for Maramures, + 13.02.1989
10.07.1984 Justin Paven, Coadjutor
of Bishop Cristian, +
18.04.1985 Emil Riti, + 21.02.2006
Bishop Dragomir became after the death of Bishop
Hossu in fact leading hierarch of the
Greek-Catholic Church of Romania. This explains the three bishop's
consecrations of the 1980s, of which the last one took place only one week
beford Bishop Dragomir's death, when he already was lying dying. Referring to
Bishop Octavian Cristian, Dragomir was created Cardinal "in pectore"
by Paul VI. Bishop Todea,
himself the only leader of the uniates - John Paul II appointed him
Metropolitan of Fagaras si Alba Iulia after the crashdown of communism and
created him a cardinal in 1991 -, worked for a official recognition of the Dragomir consecrations
by the Holy See, which were only accepted silently. Because of his serious stroke and the critical point of view
of Mgr Ploscaru in this very question it was not possible to solve this topic.
Bishop Riti, a close collaborator of Mgr Todea and imprisoned for faith
himself from 1950 up to August 4, 1964, never had been recognized as bishop.
This may be founded in the circumstance of never refuted rumours of Riti's
post-prison relationship to Securitate (code name "Nicolae
The last Generation of
Clandestine Bishops: Octavian Cristian, Justin Paven and Emil Riti
Tu es Ep. in aeternum:
Consecration Document for Bishop Riti, edited by his Consecrator, Bishop
Dragomir, on April 18, 1985 in Bucuresti
Death of Bishop Dragomir (April
25, 1985). At the Coffin, from the right: Clandestine Bishops Ioan Chertes, Alexandru
Todea and Ioan Ploscaru
Consecrated 1965 by Cardinal
Confalonieri in Rome: Bishop Petru Plesca, Iasi
The photos of this page were taken
by the archives of Hofrat Dr. Manfred Kierein, Vienna, and of the author. The
privat photo of bishop Duma as well as his seal were provided by Ioan Antal,
the bishop's nephew
Here you can find additional
photos of Ioan Duma as well as Joseph Schubert:
Birtz, Mircea Remus: Capitlul diecezan de Cluj-Gherla între
septembrie 1987 - martie 1990, Editura Napoca Star 2007
ibd., Cronologia ordinarilor diecezani greco-catolici (uniti)
1948 - 1989, Editura Napoca Star 2007
ibd., Episcopul Emil Riti (1926 - 2006) - Tentativa unei
recuperari istoriografice, Editura Napoca Star 2006
ibd., Farâme din prescura prigoanei 1948 - 1990, Editura Napoca
ibd., Episcopul Ioan Ploscaru într-o prietenie epistolara de
douazeci de ani, Editura Napoca Star 2009
ibd., Alte farâme din prescura prigoanei, Editura Napoca Star
ibd., Webblog http://remusmirceabirtz.wordpress.com
Jakubínyi, György: Archontológia, Verbum 2010.
Prundus, Silvestru Augustin: Iuliu Hossu - Exhumare si reînhumare,
Editura Napoca Star 2008
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