Miron Cristea, the Romanian Orthodox Patriarch
Yad Vashem Studies, Volume 40:2
Miron Cristea, the Romanian Orthodox Patriarch: His Political and Religious Influence in Deciding the Fate of the Romanian Jews (February 1938–March 1939)
Miron Cristea, the first Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church (1925–1939), became the Prime Minister of Romania in February 1938. During his time in office, circa 200,000 Jews (more than a quarter of the Jewish population of Romania) lost their Romanian citizenship; the Patriarch spoke openly about the deportation of Jews from Romania and made plans for the implementation of Romanianization policies. Research on the antisemitism of the Romanian Orthodox Church and that of Patriarch Miron Cristea during the interwar period has been conducted by various scholars; most of this research looks at Cristea’s and the Church’s attitude toward the Jews prior to 1938, without much analysis of the Patriarch’s political and religious career during his tenure as Prime Minister of Romania. The present article seeks to fill this gap and to examine Patriarch Cristea’s antisemitism while serving as premier from February 1938 until his death on March 6, 1939.