On 8th March 2020 there was a feminist protest (Feminist Liturgy) next to the People’s Salvation Cathedral in Bucharest, which is a major initiative and investment of the Romanian orthodox church and is yet to be completed. The feminist collective #MulțumescPentruFlori (#ThanksForTheFlowers), organizer of the movement #CadeUnaCădemToate (#OneFallsWeAllFall), has written and has distributed this feminist manifest, which was read out loud at the Feminist Liturgy in the vicinity of the cathedral:.
On March 8th, the International Day of Women’s Rights, we are protesting against an institution that is misogynistic, homophobic and greedy!
We have chosen to rally in front of the People’s Salvation Cathedral to show our revolt against the discrimination promoted by the Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR) and the allocation of public funds to the Church, to the detriment of welfare and social protection services financing. Negligent and complicit governments, stop giving money to the BOR!
Women are equal to men in all areas – that’s what the law says. But the Church ranks men as superior to women – within the family, within society, and within its own internal hierarchy. Misogynistic clergy, stop preaching to us how to live!
All citizens are equal before the law – that’s what the Constitution says. But the Church denies same-sex couples the right to be a family through civil partnership or equal marriage. Transphobic and homophobic priests, our love is none of your concern!
Young people have the right to education about reproductive and sexual health, but the Church strongly opposes the introduction of sex education in schools, the access of young people to information about their bodies. The Church says that the large number of teenage pregnancies is the fault of Roma girls only because they have “too many” children. Church leaders, let young people learn about their bodies!
Women, regardless of class, ethnicity, religion or geographical location, are entitled to free, safe and accessible pregnancy terminations, but the Church says abortion is a crime and discourages contraceptive use. The Patriarch offers medals to gynecologists who deny women access to pregnancy interruptions in public hospitals. Men in frocks, our decisions about abortion, contraceptives and tampons don’t concern you!
Women have the right to a family life free from violence, but church leaders say that “what happens in the family should stay within the family”, and that the woman “has to bear her cross” and “obey the man”. These types of messages are obstacles preventing women from leaving abusive relationships.
Romania is among the poorest countries in the EU, with millions of people migrating to other countries in search of decent wages, but the Church does not shy away from demanding money from the poor and the state to build a Cathedral that has already swallowed hundreds of millions of euros.
The Parliament, the Ministry of Education, and many mayors and public institutions have been complicit in Church actions that trample people’s rights and freedoms. Enough is enough!
We believe in the freedom of thought, of conscience and of religion, as a fundamental right of Christians and anyone who chooses to express their beliefs or not. Through this protest, we are criticizing the actions of the Romanian Orthodox Church as an institution. An institution that violates the principles of the rule of law, the fundamental rights and freedoms of women, LGBTQ+ people and other minorities, and that puts its own interests ahead of the needs of marginalized and poor people.
After reading our manifesto, we recited together the Feminist Creed written by one of us for this performance:
Translated by A.I.D
I believe in ONE
Maker of heaven and earth
Of all things visible and invisible
I believe in ONE
Whom of the mother was born before all things
Light out of Light
Liberation out of Abuse
Kind word out of Authoritarian word
Collective force out of punitive guilt
Rise out of Oppression
Embrace out of damnation!
I believe in ONE
The one crucified throughout a history of violence
The one too often
I believe in ONE
Who came back to life and cried out:
If ONE falls, we ALL fall!
For All of us will rise in a liberating breath
And stepping on abuse we will shout:
Let’s turn the church into a 24-hr shelter!
Let’s turn the church into a history of the abused!
Let’s turn the church into the confession of the wounded!
And from underneath the blows
Let us be reborn into rebellion!
And let us pray:
Not one slap
Not one fist
Not one insult
Ever again to receive!
In our own name
Of those who believe
Opening Photo: The Feminist Liturgy took place before the People’s Salvation Cathedral (source: Vitalie Brega)
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