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Accepted Paper:

Underground Greek Catholicism in socialist Romania: strategies of survival and integration  
Dr. Komáromi Tünde (Károli Gáspár University, Budapest)

Paper short abstract:

The paper analyses strategies of integration and survival of an underground Greek Catholic priest and his family members in the second half of the 20th century. The study is based on fieldwork in a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional Transylvanian community.

Paper long abstract:

After the abolition of the Greek Catholic Church in Romania (1948) believers and priests were forced to convert to Orthodoxy. Members of the clergy mostly resisted and suffered in prisons, or had to renounce their profession and accept any possible work. While some priests from his family were imprisoned, father Alexandru had a relatively better condition. He first worked in a nearby factory together with some Roma from his village. Later, as an educated and peaceful person, he was offered some bureaucratic work. He managed to celebrate liturgies at home and prayed as an underground priest in case of personal crisis for the Calvinist Hungarians and Roma. One of his Roman Catholic "colleagues" offered him part of his income and work (ordered prayers). This way his son had the possibility to graduate as an engineer. He later became the president of the collective farm in his village. While the son gained from the social esteem of the father, the father lost his attempt to reestablish a local Greek Catholic community after 1989 partly due to his son's reputation under socialist regime. Local Romanians claimed he was a communist, and the same Romanians were never eager assuming their Catholic origins. Some of them opposed the burial of father Alexandru in the yard of the former Greek Catholic, nowadays Orthodox parish church. The memory of local Greek Catholicism seems to be remembered only by family members and the grateful local Hungarians and Roma, but this is only part of the truth.

Panel P128
Alternative religiosities in the communist East-Central Europe and Russia: formations, resistances and manifestations
  Session 1