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The demolished church in Constanţa also shares the spirits among the parishioners: “Let it go, because we are used to it!”, “Let the law be applied in all things!”

Until justice settles the dispute between the church and the authorities, people continue to come to worship and light a candle in the church built two decades ago, without permission, on a sidewalk in the Macul Roșu neighborhood of Constanța. In the shadow of the plywood walls and the roof of asbestos-cement slabs, the parishioners sit together even if they have different opinions about the threat of demolition.

In the 1920s, in the working-class district of Villejuif, the Romanian saint Vladimir Ghika started from a barracks and set up a chapel for the poor with or without God in the suburbs of Paris. But Constanta is not a poor city. The Archdiocese of Thomis is not a poor archdiocese.

However, for 21 years, the people of the Macul Roşu neighborhood in Constanţa have been fulfilling what in the pandemic we used to call one of the essential needs in an inappropriate space. A church-barracks on the sidewalk.

Letters, threats, suspensions

At the end of last year, Constanţa City Hall won the case in court before the Archdiocese of Tomis, in connection with the Izvorul Tămăduirii church, from Macul Roşu.

The Constanţa Court decided that the respective construction must be demolished, as it was erected without authorization. The court’s deadline for implementing this decision expired on March 14. The suspension, which has lasted for more than 3 months, has been punctuated by several reactions from the heads of the institutions involved. The mayor of Constanța, Vergil Chiţac, sent an open letter to His Eminence Theodosius, Archbishop of Tomis. His Eminence Theodosius announced that “priests will close in the church if it is demolished”, according to the Day of Constanta.

Priests and parishioners benefit from air conditioning Izvorul Tămăduirii Church in the Macul Roşu neighborhood

In mid-June, the Constanta District Court suspended the demolition, after the Archdiocese challenged the forced execution.

Lots of plywood and some asbestos

Frankly speaking, the place of worship located on the sidewalk, a few meters from Tomis Boulevard and adjacent to a parking lot, is not the type of construction to demolish with bulldozers. You need a saw, pliers, an ax and other classic DIY tools, because the walls are made of plywood. The roof of the church on the sidewalk is secured with asbestos-cement slabs. Carcinogenic, but at least they don’t catch fire.

The walls are made of plywood, the roof is made of asbestos-cement slabs

Only a small cement foundation, from which the plywood walls are attached, could give the demolition workers a fork. On the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, on June 29, about a hundred people gathered at the service, most of them, arranged in the semi-shade inside. A few ladies are sitting on chairs outside under the trees in the green space.

The inner pillars are made of wood, decorated with rag flowers. Icons of all sizes are attached to the pillars. An old fan with chrome wings rests where the chandelier should hang. The church is clean and arranged like a box: a piece of Persian rug at the entrance, rugs, pillows and tables inside, white lime over the rusty rivets. From the altar is heard, recorded, the voice of His Eminence Theodosius, saying with pathos a prayer to the Mother of God. If an impulse tries to raise your eyes, your gaze stops in an air of brown plywood, transcendent and not so much.

On the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, on June 29, the people gathered at the service inside the church.

“We love this church so much”

At the candlestick outside, people take turns holding candles for the dead and the living. With an ear at work, a former employee of the small church on the sidewalk tells the story of the demolition as he knows it. It’s a story that’s over 20 years old, since the parish existed. “The town hall gave us this land,” says the man, pointing to a nearby green space, slipped between tower blocks and a shopping complex with children’s products. “He allowed us to build, but he kept postponing us with the permits. Until he’s done, give the land back. This church was built to hold services until we built it. It has been up since 2001 “.

A lady who worked for the place of worship for 14 years: “I don’t understand who bothers this church. “

“Think about it,” says a woman who also says she worked at the church for 14 years after retiring from Peco. “Think about it: why didn’t the people from the City Hall give permission? What were they waiting for? No authorization is given without… ”. And the woman makes the universal sign of the bribe, rubbing her fingertips. “They did not give permission and took the land back. But people used to come here. There are two more churches in the neighborhood, but far from here. See how many gather at the Resurrection! I don’t understand who bothers this church. ”

“We love this church very much and we got used to it. Leave her! Or, if the mayor doesn’t like the way he looks, to build another one from his money, a small chapel or a small wooden church, like the one in Tăbăcăriei Park. I have been living in Constanţa for 30 years and I tell you that we need this church. There are so many old people who have a hard time moving, it’s easier for them to come here. And the priests do their duty abundantly. Too bad, too bad to tear it down! ”Sighs a 45-year-old woman.

A gentleman in his 60s, who was returning from the market, says to his wife: “Let’s light a candle too!”. They stop, buy candles, which have also become more expensive, from 50 bani to 1 leu. After moving away from the candles, the man listens intently to the question of the fate of the demolished church. “Law in all things, yes? Let the law be applied, whether it’s the town hall or the church. “Let the law be applied!”

“Mr. Becali promised to give the money!”

“The people in the neighborhood are half, half,” whispers the former church employee, hearing what the gentleman says about law enforcement. “But those who want the demolition of the church also come here to worship.”

The priests who officiated the service said they refrained from commenting, “that’s what we decided, not to mention, because it’s a pending trial.”

People attend the service in the shade, on folding chairs

One of the options circulating among the parishioners is that the church will be dismantled and relocated a few meters further, at the edge of the parking lot. “Or, if the City Hall gives us permission, Mr. Becali will make us a new wooden church. That’s what he promised, how the authorization comes, how he gives the money “, an old woman is excited, shaking the fan.

“As God wants it!”, Her neighbor tempers her from a chair sitting on the grass mowed by the steps. It’s too hot for false hopes or unnecessary turmoil. As always in the last 33 years, a wiser higher than the ordinary taxpayer will decide when the permits come, and when the law is applied.

Photos and video: Maria Andrieș

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Source From: Libertatea

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