Rumania, a kingdom in the Balkan Peninsula, situated between the Black Sea, the Danube, the Carpathian Mountains, and the Pruth.
I. HISTORY.—The modern Rumanians are generally regarded as the descendants of the Dacians, a branch of the ancient Thracians; they dwelt north of the Danube in the territory now known as Transylvania, and formed at the beginning of the Christian era a comparatively well-organized state. Under the rule of able princes (e.g. Decebalus) they frequently threatened the Roman civilization between the Adriatic Sea and the Danube. Trajan first succeeded after several campaigns (102-06) in bringing the country under the Roman dominion: the new Roman province received the name of Dacia, and embraced the modern Transylvania, Banat, and Rumania. To replace the Dacians, a portion of whom had emigrated northwards, Trajan introduced colonists into the land from every part of the Roman Empire, especially from the neighboring Illyrian provinces; these settlers soon converted the Dacian territories wasted by the wars into one of the most flourishing Roman provinces, which was shortly known as “Dacia felix”. From the fusion of the remaining Thracians and the Roman colonists, who possessed a higher culture, issued in the course of the third and fourth centuries the Daco-Rumanian people. As early as the second century began the assaults of the Germanic tribes on the Roman Empire. After several unsuccessful attempts the Goths occupied the Dacian province in the third century, and in 271 Emperor Aurelian formally ceded the territory to them. In the fourth century the Goths were followed by the Huns, who in similar fashion brought the Romans and Goths into subjection after several campaigns. In the fifth century came the Gepidae, and in the sixth the Avars, who occupied Dacia for two centuries. Under the dominion of the Avars the Slays made their appearance, settling peacefully among the inhabitants; they have left many traces of their presence in the names of places and rivers. Gradually, however, they were absorbed and Romanized, so that the Latin character of the language was preserved. The influence of the Slays was greater on the right bank of the Danube, where they overwhelmed the Thraco-Roman population by weight of numbers, and denationalized the Finnic Bulgars who settled in the country in the seventh century. In this way the Romanic population of the Balkan Peninsula was divided by the Slays into two sections; the one withdrew northwards to the Carpathians, where people of kindred race had settled, while the other moved southwards to the valleys of the Pindus and the Balkan Mountains, where their descendants (the modern Aromuni or Macedo-Vlachs) still maintain themselves. In the history of the Southern Rumanians the erection of the Rumano-Bulgar Empire by the brothers, Peter, Jonita, and Asen at the end of the twelfth century is especially noteworthy; this empire became disintegrated in the middle of the thirteenth century on the extinction of the Asen dynasty (see Bulgaria). The Bulgar dominion over ancient Dacia exercised a decisive influence on the ecclesiastical development of the country. Christianity had been introduced—especially into the modern Dobrudja, where there was a strong garrison—by Roman colonists and soldiers, the Latin form and liturgy being employed. In Tomi (now Constanta) existed an episcopal see, nine occupants of which between the fourth and sixth centuries are known. During the dominion of the Bulgars the ancestors of the Rumanians with their lords came under the jurisdiction of the Greek Patriarch of Constantinople, and were thus drawn into the Greek Schism. Consequently, even today the vast majority of the inhabitants of Rumania belong to the Orthodox Church (see below). The immigration of the Bulgars was followed by the campaigns of the Magyars, who however made no permanent settlement in the land, choosing for settlement the plain between the Danube and the Theiss. At the beginning of the tenth century the country was subjected to the repeated attacks of the Peshenegs, and in the middle of the eleventh to those of the Cumans. During the migrations and invasions of various tribes, the population of the country was strongly impregnated with Slav and other elements, and only in the wooded hills of Northwestern Moldavia and Transylvania did the original Daco-Rumanian population remain pure and unmixed. After peace had been restored, the people descended from these remote retreats, and united with the inhabitants of the plains to form the Rumanian people.
During the tenth and eleventh centuries small principalities called Banats were formed in the territory of ancient Dacia; those which extended from Transsylvania northwards and westwards to the valley of the Theiss came gradually under the sway of the Magyars, while those extending eastwards and southwards from the Carpathians maintained their independence. From the latter originated the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia. By uniting the smaller districts on both sides of the River Olt, Voivode Bassarab (d. 1340) founded toward the end of the thirteenth century the Grand Banat, Little Wallachia, and successful wars against Charles I, King of Hungary, and Robert of Anjou enabled him to preserve his independence and to extend his authority to the Danube and the Black Sea. A little later (about the middle of the fourteenth century) Bogdan, Voivode of Maramaros in Transylvania, who rebelled against the suzerainty of Hungary in 1360, founded the Principality of Moldavia by overrunning the Carpathians and reducing under his sway the hilly country along the River Moldau. Both these Rumanian principalities had to contend with great difficulties from their foundation: on the one hand their independence was threatened by the neighboring kingdoms of Hungary and Poland, while on the other domestic quarrels and a want of unity between the kindred principalities lessened their strength. But their most dangerous enemy was the Turk, who extended his conquests into the Balkan Peninsula in the middle of the fourteenth century. In wars against the Turks and vain efforts to shake off the Turkish yoke, almost the whole activity of the two principalities was exhausted for several centuries. By their unflinching defense of their religion, the ancestors of the present Rumanians protected the culture and civilization of the Christian West from the onslaught of Islam, and thus played a role in universal history. Several of the princes who reigned during this heroic period of Rumanian history are especially conspicuous: Mircea the Old or the Great (1386-1418) and Radul the Great (1496-1508) in Wallachia, and Alexander the Good (1400-33) and Stephen the Great (1457-1504) in Moldavia. Mircea organized his dominions and extended his frontiers to the Black Sea by seizing Dobrudja and the town of Pilistria from the Bulgars in 1391. To repel the onsets of the Turks, he formed with King Sigismund of Hungary (afterward emperor) an offensive and defensive alliance, in accordance with which he participated in the ill-fated battle near Nicopolis in 1396. In 1402 he had to recognize the suzerainty of Turkey, to vacate the right bank of the Danube, and to pay a yearly tribute, in return for which the Porte guaranteed the free election of the Wallachian princes and the independent internal administration of their territory. The immediate followers of Mircea were weak princes, and disputes concerning the succession postponed the casting off of the Turkish yoke. Radul the Great, son and successor of the ex-monk Vlad I who had been appointed prince by the Turks (1481), sought by reforms in the administration and in ecclestiastical matters to mitigate the general distress and to secure greater independence from Turkey.
For Moldavia the long reign of Alexander the Good (1401-32) was a time of prosperity: he organized the finances, the administration, and the army, drew up a code of laws after Byzantine models, and increased the culture of the people by founding schools and monasteries. Alexander had on three occasions to take the oath of fealty to the King of Poland; his sons had likewise to recognize the suzerainty of Poland, and his natural son, Peter (1455-57), had in addition to pay tribute to the Turks. After a period of almost uninterrupted wars for the princely dignity, Stephen the Great (1457-1504), a grandson of Alexander, inaugurated a period of peace and splendor for Moldavia. Thanks to his valiant and well-organized army, he succeeded not only in keeping his country independent of the Turks and Poland for nearly half a century, but also increased his territory by subduing a portion of Bessarabia, organized the Church, founded a new bishopric, and built several new churches and monasteries. Under him Moldavia reached its greatest power and extent. His son Bogdan III (1504-17), in view of the superior forces of the Turks, had to engage to pay a yearly tribute, in return for which Moldavia was (like Wallachia) allowed the maintenance of the Christian faith, the free election of its princes, and independent domestic administration. In spite of these treaties, a period of bondage began for both lands after the battle of Mohacs, which had brought Turkey to the height of its power. The Turks created a military zone along the Danube and the Dniester, established Turkish garrisons in important places, and compelled the princes to do personal homage to the sultan in Constantinople every three years, to bring (in addition to the tribute) presents in token of their submission, to perform military service, to maintain a troop of janizaries in their retinue, and to give relatives as hostages for their fidelity. The sultans finally arrogated to themselves the right of appointing and removing at will the vaivodes of both principalities; the princes thus became mere blind tools of the Porte, were for the most part engaged in harrying each other, and in very many instances fell by the hands of assassins. Turkey abused its power to appoint new princes at short intervals; as the princes had usually to purchase the recognition of the Porte with large sums of money, they exacted from their subjects twice or three times the amounts thus paid. The chief portions of these extortions were wrung from the peasants, who were reduced by the large landowners and the nobles (the boyars) to the condition of serfs. The nobles also became demoralized, and wasted their strength in scheming to obtain the vaivodeship. Both principalities, however, occasionally enjoyed a brief period of prosperity. Thus, Michael the Brave of Wallachia (1593-1601) succeeded in casting off the Turkish yoke, defeating an army twenty times as numerous as his own in 1595. In 1599 he occupied Translyvania and in 1600 Moldavia, and thus formed an united Rumanian Kingdom which, however, again collapsed on his assassination in 1601. The reign of Matthias Bassarab (1632-54) was also beneficient for Wallachia; he protected his boundaries from the attacks of the Turks on the Danube, restrained the previously inordinate influence of the Greeks, founded in 1652 the first Rumanian printing establishment, and had a code of laws compiled after Greek and Slav models. His example was imitated by Vasili Lupu, Vaivode of Moldavia (1632-53), who in addition endeavored by the foundation of schools and charitable institutions to promote the culture of the land. Thus, despite the oppressive political conditions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, became possible the existence of a flourishing ecclesiastical literature and spiritual lyrical poetry, which kept alive the national consciousness of the people. At this period were laid the enduring foundations of Rumanian culture. Of great importance also was the circumstance that the Old Slavonic language then began to be replaced by the Rumanian both in public life and in the Church.
When, towards the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Turkish power was broken by the victories of Austria, the influence of Austria and Russia began to make itself felt in the affairs of the two Rumanian principalities. To rid themselves of the Turkish domination, the princes turned now to one power and now to the other, but were deceived by both. To oppose these attempts the Porte ceased to appoint native Rumanian nobles to the vaivodeship as previously, appointing Greeks—especially from the Fanar district in Constantinople, who were able to offer larger sums for their appointment than the boyars; the princely dignity was thus in the strictest sense of the word leased. For the Rumanian lands thus began the gloomiest period of their history, the period of the Fanariots, which lasted from 1712 to 1821. Foreign princes succeeded one another at the shortest intervals, taking possession of the country with a numerous retinue of wards, relatives, and creditors, and reducing it to greater and greater poverty. A great portion of the land was presented to Greek monasteries, and much of its income left the land and enriched Greek monasteries throughout the East (especially Mount Athos). Meanwhile the Porte arbitrarily raised the tribute to many times its former amount. Some Greek princes formed a glorious exception, and, by introducing reforms in favor of the peasants, rendered great services to both countries; especially notable in this respect were Nicholas and Constantine Mavrocordatus in Wallachia and Gregory Ghica in Moldavia. During the Fanariot dominion Rumania was frequently the scene of the wars waged by Turkey against Austria or against Russia. In 1718 the western portion fell to Austria, but in 1739 it was recovered by Turkey. After the Turco-Russian War of 1768-74 Russia wished to occupy the Rumanian principalities; Austria opposed this and, in return for this service, the Porte ceded to Austria Upper Moldavia (the present crownland of Bucovina). Moldavia had to bear the cost of the Russo-Turkish War of 1806-12, the eastern portion of the country between the Pruth and the Dniester (Bessarabia) being ceded by Turkey to Russia. Of the Moldavia of Stephen the Great only half now remained. When Vaivode Alexander Ypsilanti, a Fanariot, utilized the princely office to promote the rebellion of the Greeks against the Turkish rule, the Porte found itself compelled to cease appointing Greeks to the princely dignity, and to revert to the old practice of naming Rumanians. Russia now began to interest itself in the principalities, though only for interested reasons; by the Treaty of Akerman it obtained that only boyars should be appointed princes. A new war having broken out between Russia and Turkey in connection with the Greek struggle for freedom, Russia occupied the two principalities after the Peace of Adrianople (1828); the Russian Count Kisselew, who governed the territories at the head of the Russian army of occupation, regulated anew the administration and the political organization of the countries. After the Russian occupation Russia appointed as princes for life, for Moldavia Michael Sturdza (1834 49), and for Wallachia Alexander Ghica (1834-43), who was succeeded by another favorite of the tsar, George Bibescu.
The reforms introduced under the Russians subsequently prepared the way for the gradual economic development of the territories. However, this improvement benefited almost exclusively the boyars and the great landowners, while the people remained in their former pitiable condition. These circumstances, as well as the interference of Russia in the domestic affairs of the principalities, the spread of patriotic and liberal ideas, the desire for national unity, the curtailment of the privileges of the boyars, and free institutions, finally led (owing to the example given by the French Revolution of February) to an insurrection, which was successful only in Wallachia. On June 21, 1848, George Bibescu was forced to abdicate, a new constitution was proclaimed, and a provisional government appointed. However, Russia and Turkey occupied the principalities in common, set aside the constitution, and restored the old conditions by the Convention of Balta-Limani (May 1, 1849); at the same time the election of princes for life and the national assembly were abolished. Barb?? Stirbei??, Bibsecu’s brother, was named Prince of Wallachia, and Gregory Alexander Prince of Moldavia for a period of seven years. During the Crimean War both principalities were occupied first by Russia, and then (after 1854) by Austria. The Congress of Paris rearranged their relations, setting aside the Russian suzerainty and restoring that of Turkey. A commission of the great powers which had been sent to the principalities having learned the wishes of the Rumanian people, both were given autonomy to the extent of their ancient treaty with Turkey and a constitutional government by the Convention of Paris (1858); the further wishes of the people for the union of the two territories and the nomination of a prince from one of the ruling houses of Europe were not fulfilled, the two principalities being kept separate and each electing a prince for life. In 1859, however, a personal union was effected, Colonel Alexander John Cuza being elected for Moldavia on January 17 and for Wallachia on January 24; the double election was ratified by the Porte after some hesitation. In 1861 Cuza established, instead of the separate ministries, a common ministry and a common representative assembly, and in 1862 the union of the principalities, henceforth known as Rumania, was proclaimed. Prince Cuza introduced a series of reforms; the most important were the secularization of the Greek monasteries, the law dealing with public instruction, the codification of the laws on the basis of the Napoleonic Code, and especially the land laws of 1864, by which the peasants were given free possession of the land and the remnants of serfdom, socage and tithes, were abolished. As the chamber, which was controlled by the boyars, was particularly opposed to the last measure, Cuza abolished the chamber in 1864 and gave the country a new constitution with two chambers. Notwithstanding all his services, Cuza brought the country into a financial crisis. A conspiracy was formed against him, in which the army participated; on the night of February 22, 1866, he was seized by the conspirators and compelled to abdicate the following morning.
After Count Philip of Flanders, brother of King Leopold of Belgium, had refused the sovereignty, the Catholic prince, Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, was elected hereditary prince at the instance of Napoleon III on April 14, 1866. On May 22 he entered Bucharest, and after some months was recognized by the Porte, although Rumania had again to recognize its obligation to pay tribute. From the beginning of his reign Charles had great difficulties to overcome; the development of the country had been prevented by centuries of foreign occupation, commerce and manufacture were to a great extent in the hands of foreigners, the land was for the most part in the power of a few great landowners, while the mass of the population were poor and burdened with heavy taxation. Notwithstanding frequent rotation in power of the political parties, a series of reforms were passed, and the army, organized after the Prussian model, made creditably efficient. When the Russo-Turkish War broke out in 1878, Rumania made a treaty with the tsar, allowing the Russian troops to march through its territory, and on May 22, 1877, declared its independence of the Porte. At the storming of Plevna and the besieging of other places the Rumanian army rendered very important services to Russia—services for which Russia showed no gratitude. The complete independence of Rumania was recognized by the Congress of Berlin (July 13, 1878), but it was compelled to cede to Russia Bessarabia, which it had acquired in 1856, and to content itself with the less important Dobrudja. In consequence of this disappointment Rumania has since favored Germany and Austria in its foreign policy. On March 26, 1881, Charles had himself crowned king. The new kingdom soon began to display a successful activity in both the material and intellectual domains. The natural richness of the land was developed, the building of roads and railways promoted, and the standard of public instruction raised. Between 1882 and 1885 the independence of the Orthodox Church in Rumania from the Patriarchate of Constantinople was effected, and in 1883 the Archdiocese of Bukarest was erected for the Catholics. Thanks to its intellectual and material development and its military strength, Rumania has become an important factor in European politics. Grievous conditions, however, still prevail in the country in one connection—the distribution of the land and real property. Almost half of the landed interest (over 47 per cent) is vested in the hands of scarcely 4200 persons, so that Rumania outrivals Southern Italy as the land of big estates with all the resulting evils. As these great landowners possess political as well as economical power, and exercise it to the detriment of the peasants, a serious rising of the peasants broke out in 1907, and could be suppressed only with the aid of the army after the proclaiming of martial law. To abolish gradually these evil conditions and to protect the peasants from the oppression of the landowners and lessees and from usury, a series of excellent agrarian reforms have been introduced since 1907 and have been in many cases already enforced.
II. PRESENT CONDITION.—The area of Rumania is 50,720 sq. miles; according to the census of 1899 the population was 5,956,690 (at the beginning of 1910 the estimated population was 6,865,800). In 1899 the population included: 5,451,787 Greek Orthodox (over 91.5 per cent), 149,677 Catholics (2.5 per cent), 22,749 Protestants, 15,094 Lippovans, 5787 Armenians, 266,652 Jews, 44,732 Mohammedans, 222 of other religions. According to nationality the population was as follows: 5,489,296 Rumanians, 108,285 Austrians and Hungarians, 23,756 Turks, 20,103 Greeks, 8841 Italians, 7964 Bulgarians, 7636 Germans, 5859 foreign Jews, 11,380 of other nationalities. According to the constitution of June 19, 1866, Rumania is a constitutional monarchy, the legislative power being vested jointly in the king and parliament. The national assembly consists of two chambers, a senate and a house of representatives. To the senate belong the adult princes of the royal house, the eight bishops of the Orthodox Church, one representative of each of the two national universities, and 110 members elected by two electoral colleges; the house of representatives consists of 183 members elected by adult Rumanians paying taxes organized into 3 electoral colleges. The bills passed by Parliament receive the force of laws only when sanctioned by the king. While according to the constitution the Greek Orthodox is the State Church, liberty in the practice of their religion is granted to all the other Churches, and the State refrains from all interference in the election and appointment of the clergy of the various denominations. State support is given only to the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church of Rumania declared itself independent of the Patriarch of Constantinople in 1859, a declaration which was not recognized by the latter until 1885. The supreme ecclesiastical authority is the Holy Synod, consisting of the two metropolitans, the six bishops, and the eight titular archpriests of Rumania; its duties are to preserve the unity of the Rumanian with the Eastern Church in dogma and the canons, to maintain ecclesiastical discipline within the territory of Rumania, and to decide all purely ecclesiastical spiritual and legal questions according to the holy canons. The choice of bishops is vested in an electoral body composed of the eight bishops, the titular archpriests, and all the Orthodox representatives and senators; the election is by secret ballot. For ecclesiastical administration the country is divided into eight eparchies (dioceses), of which the eparchies Ungro-Wallachia, with its seat at Bukarest, and Moldau, and Sucea, with its seat at Jassy, are metropolitan. The Primate of Rumania is the Metropolitan of Bukarest. For the Catholics of Rumania have been erected the Archdiocese of Bukarest and the Diocese of Jassy. The ancient Catholic Church of Rumania disappeared when the people, influenced by the Bulgars, placed themselves under the jurisdiction of the Greek Church in the ninth century and thus became involved in its schism.
The seed of the modern Catholic Church in Rumania developed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in consequence of the immigration of the Hungarians and Poles, and various Catholic dioceses were founded in the Middle Ages. However, the mass of the population was never won over to reunion with Rome, and the dioceses soon vanished. In 1211 King Andreas II presented to the Teutonic Order the land about Kronstadt in Transylvania, but he withdrew his donation in 1225 and entered into personal possession of the territory. Numerous Hungarians and Germans had meanwhile settled in the plain of the Danube, then occupied mostly by the pagan Cumans, and the majority of the latter were won for Christianity. For these converted Cumans the Archbishop of Gran erected the “Diocese of the Cumans”, which included not only the modern Rumania, but also Bessarabia and a portion of Transylvania. Theodorich, a Dominican, was the first occupant of the see, and fixed his seat at Milcov. In 1241, however, the diocese was ravaged by the Tatars; the title alone was retained, being given to Hungarian vicars-general (even to ordinary parish priests) until 1523. To replace this see a Catholic bishopric was established in 1246 at Severin, a town on the Danube near the Hungarian frontier which had been taken from the Bulgar-Rumanian Empire of the Asens by King Andreas II in 1230 and presented to the Knights of Malta in 1247. The first bishops, Gregory (about 1246) and another Gregory (about 1382), were actual bishops, but the remaining ten occupants of the see (mentioned until 1502) were merely titular bishops, who lived mostly in Hungary. A third Catholic diocese was founded at Sereth. When the Eastern emperor, John Palmologus the Elder, made his submission to Rome in 1369, Latzco, the Rumanian Prince of Moldavia, followed his example, and asked Pope Urban V to erect a diocese at Sereth (1370). The first bishop was the Conventual, Nicholas Andrea Wassilo; he became Administrator of Halicz in 1373, and Bishop of Wilna in 1388. As the next two bishops were also coadjutors of Cracow, this see was reduced to the rank of a titular see. In consequence of the efforts for reunion of Urban V, who wished to restore the old Diocese of Milcov, another Catholic diocese was founded at Arges in 1381, and the Dominican Nicholas Antonii appointed its first incumbent. Of his sixteen successors, known until 1664, all lived outside the diocese, the title of which they added to their other titles. A fifth diocese was founded at Baja, the oldest town in Moldavia. The names of seven bishops who lived before 1523 are known; in the sixteenth century the population almost unanimously embraced Protestantism. The foundation of the Diocese of Bacau (1607), whose occupants resided in Poland, did as little to strenghten the Catholic Church.
As the bishops of these dioceses resided almost exclusively outside their sees, the ministration to the Catholics, whose number was never very great, was undertaken by the religious orders—especially the Franciscans and Dominicans, who founded many monasteries in the territory of the present Rumania. During the time of the Reformation most of the Catholics joined either the Greek schismatics or the Protestants. The spiritual care of the few who remained faithful was undertaken by the Conventuals from Constantinople; to these friars is due the maintenance of the Catholic faith in Rumania, and the erection of a church in Bukarest (1633). When, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, an episcopal see was established at Sofia, its first occupant, Petrus a Solis (1610), was named Administrator Apostolic of Wallachia—an office also fulfilled by his successors. The most famous of these administrators was Petrus Deodatus Baksich (1641-74; from 1642 archbishop), whose report of his canonical visitation is preserved in the Archives of the Propaganda. As most of the bishops of Sofia were chosen from the Franciscan Observants, these friars gradually replaced the Conventuals as missionaries. In similar fashion the bishops of the Diocese of Marcianopolis (erected in 1643) were appointed administrators Apostolic for the Catholics of Moldavia, and the bishops of Nicopolis (1648) for the Catholics of Dobrudja. When, subsequently to 1715, the See of Sofia was left vacant, the administration of Wallachia was transferred to the Bishop of Nicopolis. During the plague of 1792-3 Bishop Paulus Dovanlia of Nicopolis (1777-1804) transferred the seat of his diocese to the Franciscan monastery in Bukarest; since then the bishops of Nicopolis have resided in Bukarest, or at Ciople in the neighborhood. Dovanlia’s successors have been chosen mostly from the Passionists, who came to Bukarest in 1781. The first was Francis Ferrari, who died of the plague in 1813. His successor, Fortunatus Ercolani (1815), became involved in a quarrel with his flock in consequence of his attitude towards the Franciscans, who had won the affection of the people, and was transferred to Civita Castellana in 1822. The next bishops were Josephus Molajoni (1822-47) and Angelo Parsi (1852-63); the latter built a new church and episcopal residence at Bukarest and introduced the Brothers of the Christian Schools and religious orders of women into the country. Parsi’s successor, Joseph Pluym, became Patriarchal Vicar of Constantinople in 1869. The number of Catholics so greatly increased in the nineteenth century, owing mainly to immigration from Austria and Hungary, that a reorganization of the Catholic Church in Rumania became necessary. This was done in 1883: the territory of Rumania was separated ecclesiastically from the Diocese of Nicopolis, Bishop Ignatius Paoli (1870-85) was named Archbishop of Bukarest in 1883, and the exempt Diocese of Jassy simultaneously reerected. (Concerning the further history and ecclesiastical statistics, see and .)