Creation and Worship are not for Sale

Campaign Alert; 25th October 2003
Campaign’s shelf life: 14th November 2003

Dear Friends of Rosia Montana;

On 15th November 2003 Romania’s Orthodox Church Council (Sfantul Sinod) will hold its annual meeting in Bucharest. The fate of the Orthodox Church properties in Rosia Montana and Corna will be decided during this meeting. Andrei Andreicut - the Archbishop with jurisdiction over the Rosia Montana area - in spring 2003 tentatively agreed to the sale of the Orthodox Church properties to Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC).

If realized, RMGC’s gold mining project foresees the so-called ‘relocation’ (destruction) of a total of ten churches and nine cemeteries. Until now the Orthodox Church has refrained from taking an official position regarding the Orthodox churches (3) and cemeteries (4).

On the other hand, the Bishops and Archbishops of the Historic Hungarian churches in July 2003 declared that their church properties in Rosia Montana are not for sale and that the mining project will have disastrous consequences for the people and the environment.

The deciding moment over Rosia Montana’s churches and cemeteries is near. It is therefore of the utmost urgency to encourage the Orthodox Church leaders to act with integrity and take the right decision for Rosia Montana. It is necessary for them to know that a firm and uncompromising decision not to sell their church properties to RMGC enjoys a wide support and is the righteous thing to do.

Please write an email or fax a message to:
Patriarh TEOCTIST Fax: +40 (0)21 337 0822 and+40 (0)21 406 7172; email: [email protected]
Please blind copy your letter to:
Arhiepiscop Bartolomeu, Fax: +40 (0) 264 595184 e-mail: [email protected] and Episcop Vicar Vasile, Fax: ibid., email: [email protected]
Please copy your letter to:
Alburnus Maior, fax: +40 (0) 258 859328, email: [email protected]

Please consider mentioning the following in your letter:

1. You are writing because you are aware that the ‘Sfantul Sinod’ will convene for its annual meeting on 15th November 2003. The fate of Rosia Montana and Corna is on the agenda.
2. You understand that Orthodox Church is a first party in the sense that they need to communicate a decision regarding their properties in Rosia Montana and Corna directly to RMGC, the mining company.
3. After discussions with RMGC the church fathers of the Historic Hungarian Churches in July 2003 declared that their church properties are not for sale.
4. You can but applaud this decision that first and foremost is an affirmation to the sacredness of Creation and to Life. Importantly, church and life are closely interwoven in harsh mountainous regions such as Rosia Montana. To the orthodox churchgoers refusing to leave their homes to make way for Europe’s largest open cast mining project, the sale of their churches would effectively mean the violation of the very symbol that represents a living community.
5. You would like to encourage the Orthodox Church to embrace and officially adopt the spirit inherent to the declaration of their Christian brothers; the Historic Hungarian churches.
6. In addition to the direct destruction of the Rosia Montana community, its churches and cemeteries; RMGC’s mining project will only benefits to its Canadian project sponsor and investors. Instead it will directly destroy and displace two inhabited valleys and unique cultural treasures. In long term RMGC’s project will but only provoke greater social deprivation and misery.
7. Finally you would highlight a strange paradox. For the past two years, the Orthodox Church spent much energy into designing the ‘People’s Cathedral’ in Bucharest (Catedrala Neamului). To date the Orthodox Church still is reconstructing many houses of worship all over Romania; in order to house all those believers that suffered during the reign of Ceausescu. Given this you fail to understand how the Orthodox Church whilst busily constructing on the one hand would agree to ‘de-construct’ on the other.
8. You look forward to receiving good news and remain,

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