Looking for Wellbeing during World War I. Civil Society and the Romanians in Transylvania

Ioan Bolovan, Romanian Academy and Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca
Ioan Marius Eppel, Babes-Bolyai University, Romanian Academy

Despite a fairly rich production in this respect, the economic and social problems concerning civil society, the church, the family in Transylvania during those years have remained largely outside the historical research conducted in Romania or have too summarily retained the historians’ attention. We will try to capture just some of the aspects pertaining to the involvement of the ecclesiastical hierarchy in directing the behaviour of the Romanians during those years. One of the most visible consequences of the war on the societal level was the tremendous wave of solidarity and generosity it generated, from its very outbreak, among all the social classes. Both the lay authorities and the leaders of the religious denominations in the belligerent countries became involved in a huge effort to assist those affected by the horrors of the war. Since the beginning of military operations, the Church had been involved in supporting the families whose men were on the battlefront or in reiterating the need for social solidarity in circulars, sermons and articles in the press, both secular and ecclesiastical. The Orthodox and Greek-Catholic metropolitan circulars persistently highlighted the need to raise funds for those who suffered from the war. The Orthodox Metropolitan Consistory of Sibiu required that the archpriests should submit periodic reports on the moral state of the parishioners and urged the clergy to correct the population’s disciplinary misconduct through the sermons they delivered. Obviously, the state of exception during the war influenced the decisions and attitudes of the state and the church to the citizens’ and the parishioners’ morality. World War I challenged the Church to find solutions to the problems with which the parishioners were confronted during those years and these problems and interventions were certainly pretty extensive.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 186. State-Capacity and Societal Cohesion between Church and State in Europe