Religious tolerance in Sibiu
In September 2007 Sibiu hosted a special event: The Third Great European Ecumenical Gathering attended by over 2500 prelates of Europe’s episcopal churches and confessions.
Sibiu was not chosen to host this special event at random. Its tolerance and religious diversity are the result of centuries of tumultuous history with a strong impact on the spiritual life of its inhabitants.
At the beginning of the colonization process and all the way to the early 16th century, the immigrants arrived in Sibiu imposed their various forms of catholic faith, be it Dominicans, Poor Clare nuns or Franciscans. Since 1526, after the fall of the Hungarian Kingdom, a certain religious tolerance emerges in Transylvania but does not include the orthodox Romanians. The official state religions were Catholicism, Evangelism, Protestantism and Unitarianism while Orthodoxy was still just tolerated. In late 18th century when Transylvania becomes a Principality of the Imperial Crown, Catholicism becomes the state religion. In 1726 the Jesuit monks arrive in Sibiu and they get the approval to build a cathedral right in the centre of the burgh.
Since 1784 the Orthodox Diocese is awarded autonomy - a moment of joy for the Romanians who now build their first stone churches in the town of Sibiu; please note that these churches were built far from the centre, in the disadvantaged districts of the town.
In 1918, after the Great Reunion of Transylvania with Romania, the religious confessions from Sibiu are awarded equal rights and freedoms. However, these joyful times did not last long. In the late ‘40s, the newly installed communists limited the rights of the believers, the priests were persecuted and the Greek-catholic religion was banished.
Nowadays, regardless of your confession - Orthodox, Greek-catholic, Roman catholic, Evangelical, Protestant, Armenian or Jewish - at Sibiu you will find a place of worship with an interesting history.
str. Şelarilor, nr. 14
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