Bucharest, Sep. 13, 2007 (CWNews.com) – Metropolitan Daniel of Moldavia and Bucovina has been elected the new Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church. The new Romanian Orthodox leader replaces Patriarch Teoctist, who died on July 30 at the age of 92. Patriarch Teoctist had acted as host to Pope John Paul II in 1999, during the first visit of a Roman Pontiff to a traditionally Orthodox country.
Metropolitan Daniel has maintained friendly relations with Catholic Church leaders– particularly Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna– and is regarded as a strong proponent of ecumenism. His election was welcomed by members of the country’s Catholic minority.
The newly elected Orthodox Patriarch, who has shown a special interest in developing a Christian media presence, was chosen over Metropolitan Bartolomeu Ananaia, a prelate regarded as less friendly toward Catholic interests. In recent years Romanian Catholics have frequently clashed with their Orthodox neighbors over the ownership of parish properties that were seized from Eastern-rite Catholic congregations during the years of Communist rule and handed over to the Romanian Orthodox clergy.
The Romanian Orthodox Church is the second-largest body in the Orthodox world, after the Russian Orthodox. Roughly 20 of Romania’s 23 million people are Orthodox.