Iuliu Hossu

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Iuliu Hossu


“I was blessed to proclaim the judgment of God through the representatives of the whole Romanian people; blessed are you, the ones who have sealed the union with your Mother Country forever. All your lives you will proudly say: ‘I too was in Alba-Iulia!’ The sons of your sons will strongly and happily warrant: ‘Our parents too were in Alba-Iulia!’ From now on, a Greater Romania, founded on the justice of God and the faith of His people…. Long live Greater Romania, one and forever undivided”

Speech by Bishop Iuliu Hossu in Alba Iulia, 1 December 1918

Brothers! This is the hour we have long been expecting, the time when God Almighty, through
His faithful people, utters His justice that, for centuries on end, has been thirsting for completion. Today, by our decision, Greater Romania, one and inseparable, comes into being. All Romanians in these fields are saying: We are forever uniting with our Mother Country, Romania! … Justice has come off victorious. This is the moment of God’s justice, and of His rewarding us for the suffering endured ages on end by a nation worshipping God and hoping for His justice. The Lord’s words are coming true here too for the completion of divine justice: “For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.” I see the day of the nation’s union and hear the annunciation of God’s justice.

Included in the gallery of the seven martyr bishops of the Greek Catholic Church, Iuliu Hossu was one of the great high prelates that dedicated themselves to the political struggle for the achievement of the Great Union. He carried out substantial political and patriotic activity, taking action for the consolidation of the national unity. Being a PhD and DD, he was a honorary member of the Romanian Academy and a de jure senator in the Parliament of Greater Romania. During the war he was an army chaplain in the hospitals for wounded soldiers in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He participated in drawing up the documents of the Union, and he was the one to read the Union Proclamation at the Great National Assembly in Alba Iulia in front of over 100,000 participants coming from all over the country. He was part of the Transylvanian delegation which presented the Union document to King Ferdinand, alongside Vasile Goldiş, Alexandru Vaida-Voevod and Orthodox Bishop Miron Cristea. He was welcomed with cheers in Bucharest by a huge crowd of people, headed by King Ferdinand and Queen Marie. According to Bishop Hossu, historic speeches were made then: “You have been waited for for 1,000 years. Let’s never separate again!”

We were in the Jerusalem of the national aspirations, in the capital of the rulers of the Romanian country! How intense was the enthusiasm that cannot be to put in words today: shouting like of hosanna – hosanna for Transylvania. We saw tears that made some people kneel down. Others were strewing flowers, brought from who knows where in the city of Bucharest, which, in 1918, was only filled with the petals of the hearts. Some were throwing their hats high into the air. They all burst into shouts of continuous joy. Transylvania was coming home! Ardeal, Ardeal is calling us! We, the four of us, were bringing the will to accomplish the union forever. The entire will! We, the four of us, were petrified. We were looking at the clear sky, being deep in a lost, mystical blessing, and – oh, Good God – our tears were also flowing as if from the heat of an inexhaustible spring” (Bishop Iuliu Hossu speaking about the Union document being handed in to King Ferdinand).

Once the communist regime established, Bishop Hossu begins a new struggle. The Greek Catholic Church is dissolved, and Greek Catholic priests are forced to convert to Orthodoxy. Because he refused the position of metropolitan bishop of Moldavia offered by the communists in exchange for his conversion to the Orthodox religion, the herald of the Great Union was arrested in 1948 by a team of the Securitate and accused of still being devoted to the Church of Rome. He was put in prison at Dragoslavele and Căldăruşani and in May 1950, at Sighet. He was released in the summer of 1955. He was under house arrest till the end of his life. He died in a bed in the Colentina Hospital, quite weak, but with the same unshaken faith. His last words were: “My struggle is over, yours continues!”

Listen, happy Romanians, the annunciation of your union forever with your Mother Country, Romania. In the light of what has been said here, empowered by and on behalf of the Great Council of the Romanian Nation from Hungary, Banat and Transylvania, I am asking the Honourable National Assembly to receive and pronounce the following decisions as its own: ‘The National Assembly of all Romanians from Transylvania, Banat and the Hungarian Country, who gathered through their justified representatives in Alba Iulia on 1 December 1918, proclaims the union of the said Romanians and of all the territories inhabited by them with Romania!’” (Speech by Bishop Iuliu Hossu in Alba Iulia, 1 December 1918).