Romanian History and Culture

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From Christinization of the Daco-Getai to Vlachs Christians

Engolpyon reliquare from Garvan-Dinogetia 

Biertan Donarium

 They were related to Rome through language, and to Constantinople through faith.

Saint Andrew the Apostle

Saint Andrew 'Ανδρέας, Andreas; early first century - mid to late first century AD), called in the Orthodox tradition Protocletos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle and the brother of Saint Peter. The name "Andrew" (from Greek : "ανδρεία", Andreia, manhood, or valour), like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews from the second or third century BC. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him.
Eusebius quotes Origen as saying Andrew preached in Asia Minor and in Scythia, along the Black Sea as far as the Volga and Kiev. Hence he became a patron saint of Romania and Russia. According to tradition, he founded the See of Byzantium (Constantinople)[2] in AD 38, installing Stachys as bishop. This diocese would later develop into the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Andrew is recognized as its patron saint.
Andrew is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at Patras (Patrae) in Achaea. Though early texts, such as the Acts of Andrew known to Gregory of Tours,[3] describe Andrew bound, not nailed, to a Latin cross of the kind on which Christ was crucified, a tradition grew up that Andrew had been crucified on a cross of the form called Crux decussata (X-shaped cross) and commonly known as "Saint Andrew's Cross"; this was performed at his own request, as he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross on which Christ was crucified.[4] "The familiar iconography of his martyrdom, showing the apostle bound to an X-shaped cross, does not seem to have been standardized before the later Middle Ages," Judith Calvert concluded after re-examining the materials studied by Louis Réau
The official stance of the Romanian Orthodox Church is that Saint Andrew preached the Gospel to the Daco-Romans in the province of Dobrogea (Scythia Minor), whom he converted to Christianity.the Church has been a companion and defender of the Romanian people for all of their 2000-year history.[7]

The cave of Saint Andrew the Apostle Monastery in Scythia, Dobrodja

Few things are known about the cave of Saint Andrew the Apostle. One of those things that can be said with certainty is that it was discovered in 1918 by Jean Dinu, a lawyer. After dreaming one night, he came in this area to find the cave in an advanced state of degradation. After cleaning it of the vegetation inside, he built a couple of cells and the first monks came in a short time.
It was sanctified in 1943 by the bishop Chesarie Paunescu but during the communist period it was destroyed and turned into a shelter for animals.

The Monastery Cave of St. Andrew the Apostle - Dobrogea

The Church of the Monastery Cave of St. Andrew the Apostle.

Only in 1990, with the blessing of IPS Lucian, father Nicodim Dinca, the monarch of Sihastria Monastery, along with the hieromonarch father Victorin Ghindaoanu, started to restore the cave and to build the monastery.
The cave shelters the icon of Saint Andrew, known as the apostle who christianized the lands at the North of the Danube. There is a bed carved in stone in a niche of the pronaos. It is said that that was used as a resting place by Andrew the Apostle. In the course of time this has been a place to light candles, and now it is used by those in need of comfort from disease. Here, the priests also read prayers for sick people and the Mass of Saint Basil the Great.

The Monastery Cave of St. Andrew the Apostle - Dobrogea

The entrance in the Cave of St. Andrew the Apostle.

Today the monastery has a smaller church built during the years of 1994 – 1995, sanctified with the Holy Virgin’s Protection as its dedication day and the third bigger church was built during the years of 1998 – 2002.
In the small church are kept the relics of Saint Andrew. A cross in the shape of “X” can be found, on the left, in front of the altar of the smaller church. In the center of this cross is placed a part of the finger belonging to Saint Andrew. The finger was brought from the Trifiliei Metropolitan Church of Greece. On the four extremities of the cross there are the relics of the martyr saints of Niculitel from Dobrogea: Zoticos, Attalos, Kamasis and Filippos, Epictet the priest and Astion the monk.
Near the cave there is a spring about which the legend tells that it appeared after Saint Andrew struck the rock with his staff in search of water.
Tens of thousands of pilgrims come each year to the Cave of Saint Andrew and this made this place to be rightfully named the Bethlehem of Romanian people.
To get here, the pilgrims must first reach Cernavoda, afterwards head south to Ostrov. In the locality Ion Corvin, an indicator points them to a side road that takes them to the monastery in a forest, after 3 – 4 km.

The Saint Apostle Andrew



 The Saint Apostle Andrew was crucified on a cross in the shape of X.

Short biography

The Saint Apostle Andrew was the brother of Saint Apostle Petre. At first he and Saint Apostle and Evangelist John were apprentices of Saint John the Baptist.
After the Resurrection and the Ascension of Jesus Christ and the Descent of the Holly Spirit, the apostles drew the chances on where to go to preach this faith, and Saint Apostle Andrew reached the area of the Black Sea, including Scythia Minor of the time or today’s Dobrogea. He secluded in that cave with two apprentices and he started to preach. He then went to the region of Kiev, and returned to Dobrogea. Because all went well, he headed to Patras in Greece where he was crucified on a cross in the shape of “X”.

The Monastery Cave of St. Andrew the Apostle - Dobrogea

The Monastery Cave of St. Andrew the Apostle.

The Cave of St. Andrew the Apostle - Dobrogea

The Cave of St. Andrew the Apostle.

Beginning of the Christian life in the territory of our country (Dacian-Roman Christianity)

Our Church was founded at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit - as fire flames - came down over the Holy Apostles in Jerusalem. About three thousand souls were christened at the time, establishing the first community or group of faithful (cf. Acts 2). The new teaching was preached in Jerusalem, then in other towns of the Holy Land, first among the Jews. Beginning with the fifth decade of the first century, the Holy Apostles started their missionary work in the “pagan world, too, according to the commandment that the Saviour Himself had given them before His ascension to heaven, that is to teach and christen “all nations” (Matthew 28: 19). We only have news about the missionary work of the Saints Peter and Paul the Apostles, but especially about Saint Paul, in the book of the “Acts” (with the detailed story of the three “missionary journeys” of Saint Paul) or in the Epistles that he himself wrote. It should be noted that Saint Paul the Apostle, and some of his disciples, preached Christ in the Balkan Peninsula too, so in territories adjacent with Dacia, where Romanized Thracian-Getic population used to live at the time.
Saint Andrew, the Apostle of the Gets-Dacians (Scythes). The missionary work of the other apostles of the Saviour among the “pagan nations” is known only by tradition, having been mentioned in writing much later. As Romanians, we are interested in Saint Andrews’s activity, who preached in the territory between the Danube and the Black Sea, later on called Dobrudgea, known from the antique sources as “Scythia”. In the year 46 of the Christian era, the respective territory was conquered by the Romans and annexed to province Moesia Inferior, while in 297, during the reign of Diocletian, it became a separate province, called “Scythia Minor”. The tradition concerning this “apostolic” sermon in Scythia is mentioned in the work “On the Apostles” by Hipolit the Roman, deceased during the persecution instituted by emperor Decius (249-251), while in the 4th  century it appears in the “Church History” by bishop Eusebius of Palestinian Caesareea, who took it over from a work by the great theologian Origen of Alexandria (+254). A few “indirect proofs” can be mentioned to back up the idea of the evangelisation of this territory by Saint Andrew. For example, there are a few carols and folk poems in Dobrudgea and on the left bank of the Prut river that remind us about the passage of the apostle in this territory. A few toponymics confirm the same thing: “Paradise of Saint Andrew”, “The Saint’s Rivers” or the Saint Andrew’s Cave” (still seen today at the border of village of “Ion Corvin”, close to the Romanian-Bulgarian frontier). Saint Paul’s epistle to the Colossians also confirms that the “scythes” could hear the word of God (3,11).
Certainly, Saint Andrew the Apostle did not limit to preaching the Gospel and christening those whom he brought to Christ from among the Gets, Dacians and Greeks in the colonies founded on the shore of the Black Sea (Pontus Euxinus), ever since the 7th-6th centuries B.C. He must have christened some of those who had come to Christ as bishops and priests, the same as Saint Paul the Apostle did during his journeys. This is the only explanation for the fact that the oldest information on the religious organisation come from Scythia Minor. In fact, according to tradition too, Saint Andrew ordained his disciple Ampilat as bishop of Odyssos (today’s Varna, Bulgaria, close to the border), whom the Church celebrates on October 31. The bishop (or bishops) whom Saint Andrew “laid his hands on” ordained, in their turn, some other bishops, priests or deacons for the territory between the Danube and the Sea as well as on the left bank of the Danube, in order to ensure the “uninterrupted succession” of priesthood. They became, later on, preachers of the new faith - through sermon and baptism - among the native Gets and Dacians, and later on, among Dacian-Romans. Therefore, it should be said that the Christian teaching was preached in the territory of today’s Romania by an Apostle of the Saviour, Andrew “the first called”, so that the Romanian Christianity may be considered, with good reason, to be “of apostolic origin”.
Christianity in Dacia.
 In 106, emperor Traian conquered a part of the territory of the former state of the Gets-Dacians, headed by king Decebal, that was turned into a Roman province (Transylvania, Banat, Oltenia and a part of later on Muntenia). As a result of these political territorial changes, favourable conditions for promoting the new teaching in the north of the Danube, too, were created. One could speak of the so-called “informal missionaries” recruited from among colonists, soldiers in the Roman army, merchants and slaves who had adopted the Christian faith before coming to Dacia. In the 3rd century, the number of these “lay” missionaries increased due to certain Christian prisoners whom the Goths - established in the territory in the north of the Danube - used to bring here from Asia Minor, where Christianity was known as far back as the “apostolic century”. Some of them were ordained as bishops, hore-bishops, priests and deacons.
It should be mentioned that the Gospel was preached in the Roman Empire with much difficulty, as until 313 - when emperor Constantine the Great (306 - 337) set Christianity at liberty through the well-known Edict of Mediolanum (today’s Milan) - it was considered “religio illicita” (prohibited religion). But after the retirement of the Roman administration and legions from province Dacia, about 271/275, favourable premises were created for spreading Christianity in the Carpathian-Danubian territory. This was also facilitated by the fact that during the reign of Constantine the Great, the Muntenian field passed again under the rule of the empire, so that the permanent relations of the inhabitants on both banks of the Danube contributed to the large spreading of the Christian teaching.
Paleo-christian archaeological proofs.
This thing was also confirmed by a large number of paleo-christian archaeological items discovered in more than one hundred Dacian-Roman settlements (an even greater number was discovered in Scythia Minor). We mention some of the most important: “the gem from Potaissa” (today’s Turda) with a series of symbolic representations, among which the Good Shepherd; a votive slate (donarium) at Biertan, near Medias, with the inscription “Ego Zenovius votum posul” and a discus with Christ’s monogram (XP); a piece of ceramics discovered at Porolissum (today’s Moigrad, county of Salaj); several rushlights (lamps) of bronze or clay decorated with the sign of the cross or the Christ’s monogram, discovered especially in the urban centres of the former province. Some other paleo-Christian objects have been discovered in Banat and Oltenia (for instance, fragments of a bronze candlestick discovered at Racari-Dolj, used in a place of worship). Most of them date from the 4th century, but some of them seem to be even older. A few paleo-Christian objects have also been discovered at Barbosi-Galati, an important bridge at the confluence of the Siret river with the Danube dating, according to the archaeologists’ opinion, from the 3rd century.
It should be noted that starting from the 4th century we have had the first literary and archaeological proofs concerning the presence of certain places of worship in the Dacian-Roman territories in the north of the Danube river. Such paleo-Christian churches have been built on the ruins of a Roman camp in Slaveni village (county of Olt), while in Porolissum (today’s Moigrad, county of Salaj) a former pagan temple was turned into a Christian place of worship. In two other centres the foundations of a few basilicas have been discovered: in Sucidava (today’s Celei-Corabia, county of Olt), with a series of Christian inscriptions in Greek, and in Morisena (today’s Cenad, county of Timis). It seems that the present building in Densus (county of Hunedoara) is a former funeral monument turned into a Christian place of worship in the 4th century. We learn from the story of the martyr’s death of Saint Sava, who sacrificed his life for Christ somewhere around Buzau town, on April 12, 372, that he used to “sing psalms in the church”. Certainly, all these places of worship involve the presence of some priests and hierarchs, as we shall see further on.
Linguistic evidence.
A strong proof of the old age of the Romanian Christianity is made by many words with religious meaning in the main lexical background of the Romanian language, that have been used since the 3rd-4th centuries until today. Some of these words have been taken over from the ordinary Latin spoken by our “christened” Dacian-Roman forerunners, while some others were created on the spot by the new confessors of the Christian faith. We mention the words: church (coming from basilica), faith, law, Resurrection, Ascension, Epiphany, Trinity, Father, Virgin, angel, altar, cross, prayer, temple, sin, father, pagan, to christen, to give Eucharist, to cross, to pray, a.s.o.
A few Christian feasts took over the names of some pagan feasts close to the dates of our feasts, with a stress on a new, Christian meaning (Calatio - calationem - Christmas, Florilia - Florii (Palm Sunday), Rosalia - Rusalii (Pentecost), dies conservatoria - sarbatoare (holiday).
A significant detail is that 90% of the words in the “Lord’s Prayer”, as well as in the “Creed” drafted at the first two Ecumenical Synods (325 and 381) are of Latin origin (except for mistake, temptation and save in the Lord’s Prayer), which fact proves that they have been known by the Romanians’ forerunners as far back as the period of their formation as a people.
Great Christians.
Several names of Christians who died a martyr’s death have been known ever since the Gothic persecutions, such as Sava, already mentioned above, around Buzau town, in 372, a certain saint Nichita and a few others.
In the province of Scythia Minor and in the territory close to it the number of the Christian martyrs during the persecutions of Diocletian, about 300, was very large. We mention Zoticos, Atalos, Kamssis and Filipos, all of them from Noviodunum (today’s Isaccea), whose relics have been discovered in a crypt in Niculitel, county of Tulcea (today laid in the church of the Monastery of Cocos), Chiril, Chindeas and Tasius at Axiopolis (today’s Cernavoda), priest Epictet and his converted disciple Astion at Halmyris (today’s Dunavat), Macrobiu, Gordian, Heli, Lucian, Zotic and Valerian, Argeu brothers, Narcis and Marcelin, all of them at Tomis (today’s Constanta). We can mention the names of the martyr soldiers Pasicrat, Valentin, Marcian and Nicandru and later on of soldier Emilian for the town of Durostorum (today’s Silistra) at the boundary between the provinces of Scythia Minor and Moesia Inferior. Martyrs Quintilian, Maxim the reader and Dadas suffered in the village of Ozobia, near Durostorum.
The church hierarchy. All the information mentioned above confirm the existence of a church organisation in the Carpathian-Danubian territories. The historical sources proved that ever since the beginning of the 4th century, so as soon as the Edict from Mediolanum was promulgated in 313, about 15 episcopal sees were documentary mentioned in various towns on the right bank of the Danube, in the provinces of Pannonia Inferior, Dacia Ripensis and Moesia Inferior (today in Yugoslavia and especially in Bulgaria) - at Sirmium, Viminacium, Oescus, Bononia, Marcianopolis, Novae, Appiaria, Abbvitus, Durostorum, whose titular bishops participated in the proceedings of the ecumenical or local synods. We suppose that these ones were even older, as about 300, during the persecution instituted by Diocletian, a large number of priests died a martyr’s death.
In the north of the Danube but only one bishop is known, Teofil “of Gothia”, to participante in the proceedings of the first Ecumenical Synod in Niceea, in 325; his name is explained by the fact that the territories in the north of the Danube were under the Goths’ rule at the time. In 336, one of the great missionaries for the territories in the north of the Danube, Ulfila, a disciple of Teofil’s, was ordained in Constantinople, (one of his parents was Greek, and the other one Goth). According to Filostorgiu, a historian of the time, “he was ordained bishop for all the Christians in the Getic country”, so in a country of which inhabitants were considered “Gets” (later on Dacian-Romans). As soon as he returned to the north of the country, he preached in the Gothic, Latin and Greek languages (for the Greeks’ descendants held captive by the Goths). He was Orthodox in the beginning, but then he became Arian or Semi-Arian. It should be noted that this was the time when he started to translate the Bible in the Gothic language using a new alphabet that he himself created. About 348 he was obliged to take refuge - together with many other faithful - in the south of the Danube, because of the persecutions against the Christians by the leaders of the Goths, where he continued his activity until his death (about 381-383). Besides them, some other bishops could function in the north of the Danube, as well as the so-called “hore-bishops”, that is village bishops, mentioned in the old Church between the 3rd- 11th centuries, who used to live in villages and functioned only on behalf of the diocesan bishops or of the “perihoret” bishops (missionaries).
Church organisation in Scythia Minor.
We mentioned in the beginning that Saint Andrew had to ordain bishops, priests and deacons in the cities at the Pontus Euxinus where he preached Christ. The first bishops took turns in ordaining other bishops, even when the Christian faith was not recognised as legal yet. This is the only explanation of the fact that several bishops were documentary mentioned in the city of Tomis. The martyrs’ acts remember bishops:
and Tit in the beginning of the 4th century.
A bishop from Tomis called Mark participated in the proceedings of the first Ecumenical Synod in Niceea.  
In 390, bishop Betranion, a defender of Orthodoxy during the Arian heresy, was documentary mentioned; 
Gherontie participated in the 2nd Ecumenical Synod in Constantinople, in 381.
For the 5th century we mention bishops
Teotim I,
Timotei, who participated in the 3rd Ecumenical Synod from Ephesus in 431,
Teotim II,
and for the next century
Paternus and Valentinian. All of them were people of great culture, who took part in the dogmatic controversies of the time.
In the 6th century Scythia Minor was a “metropolitan province” and its titular had become metropolitan, with 14 dioceses in the main towns of the province. All these episcopal sees - Tomis too - were directly related to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the new capital city of the empire, a principle confirmed by a decision of the 4th Ecumenical Synod from Chalcedon, in 451. Therefore, they were related to Rome through language, and to Constantinople through faith.
There were also a few remarkable theologians from the same province, out of whom we shall mention only two: Saint John Casian (about 360-435), founder of two monasteries in Marsilia (today’s Marseille, France), the author of a few theological works (Conversations with the Parents, On the monastic settlements with community life, On the Incarnation of the Lord a.s.o.) and Dionisius Exiguus (or the “humble one” about 460-545), translator of a few theological and canonical books in Greek, the one who laid the foundations of the present chronological system, counting the years since the birth of Christ (“Christian era”).
The massive spreading of Christianity in the territory between the Danube and the Sea is also confirmed by about
35 basilicas dating from the 4th-6th centuries discovered in the main urban centres of the province, in Tomis, Callatis (today’s Mangalia), Tropaeum Traiani (Adamclisi), Histria (Istria), Axiopolis (Cernavoda), Troesmis (Iglitia), Dinogetica (Garvan) etc., as well as by more than one hundred inscriptions on objects with religious character dating from the 4th-6th centuries.
All this prove that our forerunners were not christened at a certain date, that there was not a mass conversion, by order of the political leaders or as a result of the activity of some official missionaries, as in the case of the peoples around. The christening process of the Dacian-Romans has a specific character, having lasted a few centuries, and having been the result of the direct contact of the native population with the colonists or the promoters of the new religious faith. The Latin language and Christian faith were the elements that contributed to the strengthening of the ethnic, linguistic, and spiritual unification of the native people with the new comers in Dacia who were of different nations and followers different religions. The formation of the Romanian people and its christening were two parallel processes, so that one can say that a new people, the Romanian one resulted once these processes ended, with a new faith, the Christian one, in other words, that the Romanian people was born Christian.
However, the weight of evidence, from archaeological to linguistical to ecclesiastical history, points to a different story, especially since Saint Paul and Silvanus first preached into the Miniature Macedonian Rome of Caesarea Philippi and only later in Rome proper.
An impressive number of toponyms, ethnographical material and the most ancient church tradition - also attested in writing by Eusebios since the 4th century follow Saint Andrew, the Apostle of Dacia and Scythia Minor. All of these could not possibly have been maintained in situ in a non-Christian organized Dacia: If the Christian faith were only brought there by Romans or Roman prisoners rather than growing locally as a grass root phenomenon, then only a few early Christian remains would be on record. In fact, the Roman army deserted north-of-Danube, Left Bank Dacian provinces in corpore starting as soon as the Goths (who were christianized only later) invaded it, around 240 AD. There are more recent historians who maintain that Christianity became widespread much later, with the Byzantine troops of the Eastern Roman Empire then with the extension of Byzantine Romania. Others still point to the Caucasian Georgia or Iberia, and the Lesser Armenia as the first Christian countries. All of them fail to explain the unique liturgical vocabulary of Romanian which could only have been acquired at the very sources of Early Christianity. Cunningly, even Edward Gibbon, as early as the 1780s, vindicates an early Christianization beyond the Left Bank of the Lower Danube.
After 297, on the territory of the Roman province of Scythia Minor (now Dobrudja, between the Right Bank of the Lower Danube and Tomis on the western shores of the Black Sea), martyrs of the Christian faith are legion.
Had Dacians received Christianity as religio illicita only via the crypto-Christians among the Roman troops (therefore after the Dacian Wars ended in 106, and before the 276 Roman military retreat) the deep, lasting and grass root organization of the Early Romanian Orthodox Church would remain unexplained. Truth of the matter, as always, must be searched within a larger body of knowledge:

 Early Churches

333 Beroes - oldest in SE Europe Piatra Frecăţei (judeţul Tulcea)
353 Callatis - Mangalia, (judeţul Constanţa)
357 Dinogetia - Gârvan (judeţul Tulcea)
358 Troesmis - Igliţa-Turcoaia, (judeţul Tulcea)
358 Axiopolis - Hinog lângă Cernavoda (judeţul Constanţa)
358 Constantiana - Capul Dolojman
359 Noviodunum - Isaccea

361 Ulmetum - Pantelimon
364 Ibida - Slava Rusă singura din Scythia Minor cu trei altare spre răsărit
365 Isvoarele367 Niculiţel

369 Densuş - oldest north of lower Danube still in use today
398 Slaveni ? (judeţul Olt)

412 Sarmizegetusa (judeţul Hunedoara)
457 Porolissum - Moigrad (judeţul Salaj)

435 Morisena - Cenad (monastery)
449 Sucidava - Celei (judeţul Timiş)
860 Dăbâca
900 Corbii de piatră
1177 Bodrogu Vechi (Hodoş) Ciala
1057 Dinogetia - Gârvan (judeţul Tulcea) - reconstructed
1066 Alba Iulia (actual catholic cathedral was built upon it)
1168 Drobeta - Turnu Severin
1304 "Biserica din deal" din Ieud 

Some notes on Christian Archaeology. 6. About dating and interpretation of some early Christian pieces (106-275/313 AD) found in Dacia.

 The author (Nicolae Gudea) makes a presentation of two important works dealing with Early Christian finds from 3rd-5th centuries AD: „Evidence of Christianity in Roman Southern Pannonia (northern Croatia). A catalogue of finds and sites”. Oxford 1996 by Branka Migotti, respectively „Evidence of Christianity in Roman Britain. The small finds”. Oxford 1988 by C.F. Wawer  



Studia Universitatis Babes Bolyai - Theologia Catholica (3/2007)

Author Name:

Gudea, Nicolae; 

  SUMMARY. Somme notes on Christian archaeology. 5. Corrections to an intervention concerning the vessel with inscriptions and Christian symbols found at Moigrad. The author (Nicolae Gudea) corrects some mistakes slipped in the article nr. 755 in the volume „Latin inscriptions from Dacia” – Inscripţii Latine din Dacia (Bucureşti 2005) edited by C.C. Petolescu, and adds some new informations to it. Owing to the fact that C.C. Petolescu did not have at his disposal all the bibliography Only partially, he worked out a series of erraneous wordings and the presentation as a whole is incomplete.
Reviewing all the necessary completions in connection with the vessel, the inscriptions and the symbols, the author (N. Gudea) presents the correct interpretation of the texts and symbols on the vessel and its integration into the late Roman context. The author sustain that the vessel used to be a medium bowl from the category of luxury products with stamped decoration produced at Porolissum. Fig.1.1 and it has no importance whether the inscriptions and the symbols had been cut before the burning or after it.
- on the outer ring and in the inner side of the ring there are known votive formules with analogies especially in the Christian world from Western Europe. To the some side of the empire directs us the type of writing, the letters finding perfect analogies in the cursive inscriptions from Italy, Dalmatia, Pannonia Secunda.
- on the inner side of the vessel clear Christian symbols and inscription had been inscribed: the Chrismon, the dove (the Holly Spirit), the breads, the Life Tree completed with a Christian wish utere felix. Fig. 1.2a; 1.2b; 1.3. The dedication inscription is fragmentary; the name of the dedicator is hard to state precisely; it may be Zenovius, or Paulus, or any other name terminated in vivus.
- on the basis of the letter types, of the character of the writing, of the symbols and votive Christian formulas, the vessel can be considered as dating from the middle of the 4th century AD.
- the vessel from Moigrad having inscriptions and Christian symbols is not a singular discovery from 4th century Porolissum. There are Christian precedents dating from 3rd century AD (vessels with symbols in the form of crosses (cut or scratched); vessels with the symbol of Jesus Christ (the chrismon), cut after burning (Gudea 1994, 97-100); in the old temple of Belus there was built a Christian basilica; there are other isolated discoveries with Christian character from the 4th century (Gudea 1989, 341). All this Christian material is part and parcel of a series of imports from the Late. Roman Empire, providing a 4th century level to Porolissum (Gudea 1989, 342 – 344)


Text at:

The Romanization of Dacia and the Christianity are two phenomena that developed simultaneously. The intensity and the development of Romanization influenced directly the power of the Christianity. The urban centers are those that offer the best imagine of the Romanization and in the same time they become the focuses of the Christianity in thee first three centuries A.D.
But what was the religion of Geto-Dacians before the Christianity?
Vasile Parvan asserted that “in the contrast with other Thracians, who were polytheist “Getas show themselves in their believes to be henotheists* . Their opinion is a kind of dualism, similar to that Iranian but there isn`t any certain document. In connection with the mention of the Greeks that the god of Geto-Dacians had a name, the historian says that these called the god from the sky when Zamolxis, when Geleleizis, name in his opinion that there are ,,simple explanatory attributes of the power or the appearance of the divinity ,,The unic god didn`t need of a proper name, but only explanatory attributes of his power, that is infinite and in this way his attributes also would have been able to be countless. Nevertheless even these attributes lack at Getas: because “Zamolxis” is almost exclusively used, while “Gebeleizis” is entirely an exception here as an appellative of the supreme God.
Against the henotheism suggested by Vasile Pârvan there were: C.Daicoviciu, I.I. Russu, L.Blaga, Silviu Sanie, and the polytheist character of the Geto-Dacian religion is the dominat point manifested in all the post-war syntheses of the historiography (N.Cojocaru, Ortodox Christianity).The historian Silviu Sanie speaking about the Getas` religion mentions: “With all diversity of its elements, it represents o united and considered form. Geto-Dacians had a supreme divinity, either they called Zamolxis or Gebeleizis in that they believed, with all difficulty to understand it at the level of the ancient writers, the Greeks, for example or the Romans”.
Though, Niceta of Remesiana, Dacian bishop, writes in ,,De symbolo” text that in time when he tried to explain to the Daco-Romans, cathehumens about God-The Father from The Credo, he was meeting difficulties because the heathen mythology did from almost every god, a father, evidently in a different sense of that Christian. In this way Niceta gives to monotheism a foundation against the heathen polytheism, but present, simple for opwer of understanding of those who were listening to him. The divinity of Geto-Dacians was conceived as if existed in the sky. For this the Dacians worshiped a celestial cult: they had god warship altars, sanctuaries carved in the high mountains(according to Vasile Parvan), where they prayed, probably, with their belief to be nearer f their divinity.(Niceta of Remesiana, De Symbolo, in Church writers, by Pr. Prof.Ioan G.Coman, p.116)*
In accordance with the tradition, the Christianity was introduced to us still from the Apostolic Century. It is Known that after the Ascensin Day” the Saint Apostols didn`t delay too much in Jerusalim. They were all over in the world in order to preach, teach the Jesus` Gospel as if Origen wrote:,, Toma went to preach to Parths, Matei went to Ethiopa, Bartolomeu to West of India, John to Asia, Andrei to Scythia, Petru to Pont, Galatia, Bithynia and Capadokia, Paul went from Jerusalem to Illyria.
About the preching of Jesus` Gospel by Saint Apostols in Scythia territory and assimilation of the new Christian learning by Geto-Dacians, early,  a study by P.S. Epifanie Norocel who synthesized the mentions of the church authors on the preaching of Saint Andrei in our territories, even by the epistle to Colosens of Saint Paul who said: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all(Clos.III,11).
Some historian and church people relying on some historic data suppose that in Dobrogea there were Christians even in the first centuries A.D. The historian C.C. Giurescu, speaking about ,,Christianity of Dacian-Getas, asserts:,,It`s sure that in Dacia Christians were before of the Roman retreat. The Christianity was in the time when the Roman legions were retreating, an oldness almost two and half centuries. It penetrated into all the most important centers of the Roman Empire, further throughout Balcan Peninsula. So it is not at all excluded as though the colonists brought by Traian would have been Christian soldiers, too. Also, they could be through the rows of the troops who had settled before in the east and now they had their garrison in Dacia (C.C.Giurescu, The Forming of the Romanian People, Craiova,p.116)*
How was Christianity born and spread in the Geto-Dacian territory? We could answer relying on the studied documentation: missionary was the term explained by A.von Harnack(Harnack, 1924,p.33-528). This missionary(missioner activity) could be of individual and spontaneous type or of type guided, ruled politically.
N.Gudea, at the pag.109 of his work,, From the History of Christianity at Romanians. Archeological Proves* mentions about the individual type:,,Missioners brought here not only the Christian ferment, because the Daco-Roman society at which this ferment was coming, as too the other part of the Empire was already capable to take over this ferment and ready prepared to develop it.
This thing is able to explain by Vasile Parvan`s words: ,,The cause of Daco-Roman Christianity found out on the public monuments much earlier to appear provinces of Illyricum, I think I must search only its bringing directly from East-The Trian`s colonists came in the most part from Christian Orient-and, as a result, in the old heart of the Christian community of Dacia that will have given its members a certain self-confidence in their power for resting even on the opportunity of the public fight with dominant heathen will have been as in the other part of the world a certain γνωσις, then a true idolatry”.
The spread of gnosticism by its pieces in the same time with those of the paleochristianity, charged also of some powerful evangelized communities. Those ,,abrasaxes” which a period lived together with Christianity to Porolissum, Romula, Orlea, etc. remained only a memory of the territory where they were discovered, emphasizing the idea that the Christian theology was imposed to the ,,bazilidei”gnosticism which integrated itself to Christianity. Owing to pure Christianity after 325 A.D. the gnostic cremation is replaced with proper inhumation, while the astronomical calculations, with regarding the great feasts were taken over from Dacians, through the writing down of the equinoxes and solstices into quadrilateral sanctuaries and circular discovered into diggings made to Sarmizegetusa by Victor Teodorescu and C.Daicoviciu since Dacia`s reign by Burebista, 81-44,BCh. and till period of Durpaneus Decebal IIc.A.D.
The researcher Nestor Vornicescu mentions chronologically the sufferings of the saints in old our territory: Pasincrate and Valeintin martyrized at Durostorum, in IIIc.A.D. The martyrization of the soldier Iuliu Veteranu, and in the same time and in the same citadel, where Saint Nicandru and Saint Marcian÷298, and Saint Isihic suffered, too. In 304 A.D. there is registered the sufferings of the Dacian priest Montanus and his wife Maxima, at Singidunum. In that epoch the bishop Irimeu worked and suffered at Sirmium and the priest Dasius suffered at Axiopolis. Also there are mentioned monks who suffered as martyrs and became saints as Epictet, Astion* about in 290 A.D. in Halmiris citadel.

Nestor Vornicescu remainds about the old episcopate office from Recidiva where in 328 A.D. there was the bishop Ştefan and in the second half of the IVc A.D.there was in Tomis a well-known episcopate ofiice led by bishop Bretanion, a famous priest. Another bishop in Tomis well-known, too there was Teotim about 390-407A.D. It is said that the Tomis episcopate office was promoted to the rank of metropolitan church by the Emperor Atanasie I(491-518) and had under its jurisdiction 14 episcopate offices: Axiopolis, Capidava, Bifainos, Caupros, Nicomidia, Dessu, Salsovia, Halmiris, Tropheum Traiani, Yeldipa, Dionzsopolis, Callatis, Histria, Constantiniana. All these episcopate offices are mentioned in the ,,Synekdemos” work by Hieracles.
On the left bank of the Danube, in the Buzău places, today, in 372A.D. suffered martyr death the well-known Saint Sava, called Gotul, too.At Niculiţel, in the IVc A.D. suffered martyr death as follow as: Zoticos, Atthalos, Kamasis and Filippos. They called saints. Also Many after Christians suffered martyr death like Emilian from Durostorum; at Singidunum the deacon Donat was and his twin brother Venust died to Sirmium and the list keeps on. We notice that some and the others were Dacians and with their example there is a confirmation of the continuity of Geto-Dacians in their country, Dacia.
The second type of missionary, that ruled politically manifested when there was a collaboration between Church and Empire, specially in the IVc.A.D. when Christian Church became the ally of the state especially when the missionary was directed to barbarian groups and people in order to be quiet down them and integrate in foreign politic of the Empire. In a kind of this missionary there were involved: Ioan Cassian, Dionisie the Greatest, Vasile the Greatest, Ulfila, in Moesia II or Scythia and Niceta of Remesiana in Mediterranean Dacia* .
The spread and evolution of Christianity gets a great importance in the three Dacian provinces after the Roman retreat till the downfall of the Byzantine border at the Lower Danube. What will put us in links with Daco-Roman Christianity evidences will be the archeological sources which demonstrate that the left people in its territories preserved an economic, social and spiritual Geto-Dacian autochthonous life. The Geto-Dacian language in wich there were concluded on commercial agreements at the Lower Danube is used as cult language,too till the downfall of the Byzantine Empire in 1204 and when is was imposed the practice of the Christian cult In Greek language mentioned in documents kept to Putna Monastery and studied by agreements at the Lower Danube is used as cult language,too till the downfall of the Byzantine Empire in 1204 and when is was imposed the practice of the Christian cult In Greek language mentioned in documents kept to Putna Monastery and studied by researchers, G.Ciobanu and I.Panţâru. The early Christianity study in Dacia represents generally, our contribution at the Christianity history. There was still a new trial of development of the European Historiography with new data, new knowledge by archeology.
If the beginnings seem to us poor in materials, IV-Vc.A.D. bring light in accordance with the organization of the Christian Church, the connection of the Geto-Dacian Christian communities with the entire Empire in special condition that were at the Lower Danube, when the Empire lost provinces in Balcans, where Barbarians conquered the territory between the Danube and Balcans and however the Christian population is developed, survives over the borders of the Empire, preserving the religion and ethnic entity and some aspects of its Roman origine.
The XXth century was the period when the most studies about the early Daco-Roman Christianity by the analysis of the objects discovered archeologically. The true research is begun by Vasile Pârvan who showed in his study: ,,The Epigraphic Contributions at the Daco-Roman Christianity History” .The historian pays attention:,,In traian- Dacia had to have been Christians before 270 A.D.,too. It is a logical-historic necessity:all believes were in Empire in that period, there were in Dacia ,too, especially those orientals, of which some of them appeared only here, and many colonize a great number was from old Christian provinces, missionaried by the God`g Apostols themselves, Syria, Galatia, Asia provinces, etc,”.
Vasile Pârvan remainds about Tertuluian who enumerates among the people in him reached” is Dacian people. Giving the example of non-concordance between Tertulian`s and Origen`s text, the Romanian savant added: ,,consequently the literary springs don`t give anything sure on the Christianity from the left bank of the Danube before 250cA.D.-Contrary a spring of another nature gives a documentation irrevocable about Christianity in traian-Dacia still before 270 AD” It is given for example an inscription from Napoca which begins as all the others with D(is) M(anibus) reason for which didn`t pay attention though it is finished with sacred monogram. In inscription was carved on a stone sarcophagus found about 1500 and the data about the inscription are Known from the manuscripts of the Mazerius humanist(about1516). Also, at 62 page of the work, the historian presents another Christian monograms discovered to Calatis, Tomis, Tropaeum Traiani and Axiopolis.
As Vasile Pârvan mentions: ,,Important and decisive for inscription there is the conclusion of Becker, that ,, the most inscriptions provided with the sigles D· M belong to the third century and the period of Constantin(I Emperor,p.67). If Vasile Pârvan opened the first stage of the research between 1911-1936 years, another stage is that researched by C Daicoviciu who brings new archeological Christian evidances dated in the IVc. When the Christianity is brought here, to the north Danube by missionaries, especially after 313AD.
Another stage of the research can be between 1936-1958 I.I.Russu makes up the first systematic catalogue of early Christianity particularly for Transilvania.
The work mentioned above is followed by another two catalogues made-up by I. Barnea, (Barnea 1977, Barnea 1979). These works make evident the real possibility of the early Christianity in Dacian provinces. The continuos research bases on the rich bibliographical lists, starting from that made-up by Vasile Pârvan and going fast to those relied on the new discoveries, rediscoveries and interpretations as Christian, objects made-up by K.Horedt(Horedt 1946), M.Macrea (Macrea 1948),C. Daicoviciu(C.Daicoviciu 1948;Daicoviciu 1949), I.I.Russu(Russu 1958) D. Protase(Protase 1966), I.Barnea(Barnea 1971, Barnea 1977, Barnea 1979, Barnea 1985), and K.Horedt(Horedt 1982).To theses lists we can add uncountless articles and other works in accordance with another discoveries of the Christian items. There were made-up maps respecting technical characteristics, as: materials, dimensions, descriptions, typologies, analogies; date of the place of the discovery and the place where these are preserved.Having a delivery of items on the maps could make comperisons among the situations of the Dacian provinces with the others from the entire Roman Empire and Balcanic region. Of course the discoveries in Dacia territory can join and integrate to the researches and discoveries which made and the other Christian territories as Britania and Germania as part of the Christian items associated of items from the late period of the Roman Empire and early Byzantine. In this way we can follow a movement of Christianity in European territory. The discovered items can analyze as making part from three stages of evolutions:
a)The period of Roman province consists of some ringstones and Christian talismans proper(found at Potaissa, Apulum and Romula, Transilvania in general), several gnostic ring gemstones (Porolissum, Apulum, Micia, Romula, Orlea); other gnostic items counting as talismans (Micia); gnostifc funerary objects(Dierna);vessel lids with a cross on them(Porolissum, Micia, Tibiscum, Resculum, Cumidava, Ulpia Traiana).
b)The early Christianity objects when the gnostic objects disappear the objects become more uniform in their classification in accordance with their use. That became more generalized being used during divine service; existence of churches and the tombstones as well. The found objects indicate us the existence of the initial hotbeds of Christianity, the cities of the provinces, the larger settlements and the artisans centers that indicate a wider spread of the new religion.
c)We can speak about IVcAD when there was discovered a greater variety of objects used in the service divine, talismans, burial objects, parts of equipment and harness. The studied maps show a larger area of spreading of Christianity.
For putting in evidence the thing presented above we could do a classification of the objects discovered especially their destination. Consulting the maps what content the spreading of the objects intended to Christian religious cult annexed to the work, the historian Nicolae Gudea realiyed a cetain grouping in his work,, From the History of the Christianity at Romanians Archeological proves:
1. Talismans and tokens:
a.)ring gemstones with gnostic symbols(Porolissum, Apulum, Micia, Romula, Orlea, Drobeta); b) ring gemstones with Christian symbols proper (Potaissa, Transilvania, Apulum, Romula);c) matal rings with Christian symbols and inscriptions on the plate(Boloa, Potaissa, Dierna, UlpiaTraiana, Sucidava);d)metal rings having a cross on the plate(Caraş river, Sacoşu Turcesc);e) cross shaped pendants(Porolissum, Romula, Dubovac, Vrsac);f)accessories for clothing with Christian symbols: brooches(Micia);belt brooches of Sucidava type(Apulum, Bratei, Orlea, etc.);belt attachments (applicae) (Feisa): pendants(Platea);g)gnostic funeral items(Dierna)
2. Ancient stone monuments or other common use objects which, later on were given a Christian nature or Christian significance (Christianized):a)tombstones(Napoca, Potaissa, Ampelum, Gilău, Ulmetum) b)building ceramic materials(Romula);c) various vessels with Christian symbols added after the date of fabrication(Porolissum, Poian, Micasasa, Cumidava); d)vessels with the fish images invised after the date of fabrication(Gherla);e) vessel lids(Porolissum, Resculum, Micia, UlpiaTraiana, Cumidava, Tibiscum, Caransebeş).
3.Objects used in the divine service:
a) Chandelier (Biertan); b) liturgical vessels (Biertan); c) eucharistic chalices (Porolissum, Ulpia Traiana); d) instruments for stamping the Eucharistic bread (Platea, Jobăr); e) bronze lamp supports (Dej, Gherla, Porolissum, Romula, Răcari); f) clay lamps with monogram of Christ or with a cross on the plate (discus)(Ampulum, Transilvania, Romula, etc); with cross at the bottom (Iliuşa, Mercheşa, Apulum, Ulpia Traiana, etc.) with various Christian symbols (Romula, etc); with birds on the plate(discus)Romula);g)Silver Eucharistic spoons(Transilvania, Deleni, Dierna).
4.Various other Christian objects
a) Symbolic statuettes (Porolissum); b) vessels with fish images (Micia, Micăsasa); c) amphorae (Tg.Secuiesc); d) vessels with Christian symbols put on them when manufactured (Cristeşti, Micăsasa); e) inscriptions (Romula).
5.Christian discoveries (churches)(Porolissum, Slăveni);
6.Moulds for the metal Christian items (Sânmiclăuş);
7.Objects and discoveries in the late Roman and early Byzantine settlements and forts on the left bank of the Danube (from mouth of the Tisa to the mouth of the Olt).
Nicolae Gudea made-up his table based mainly on analogies, and on the knowledge of the Christian ritual and cult inventory. In the late Roman period Tomis becomes the capital of the Scythia provinces founded by Diocletian Emperor by tearing of part from the territory of the exprovinces, “Moesia Inferior”. Here was the residence of the governor of the province, the place where the Christianity spread  even in the I st cAD and where was born the first episcopate office from Scythia.
Beside the Christian ritual in provinces ruled over temporary by Roman Empire, Dacia Province and Dobrogea between 106-271AD developed simultaneously with the other religious cults brought here by the members of the Roman legions for example: mani god cult, dead people cult, Dis Manibus. In the free Dacians territory there were autochthonous groups that keep, preserve by directly transmitting of the Zalmoxian cult, ritual. We can give more examples of religious syncretism by some inscriptions from the work of the historian Emilian Popescu “Greek and Latin Inscriptions from IV-XIIIc.AD in Romania”* : A marble plate discovered in Constantza, Dobrogea, Romania and dated 284AD or 284-305 period in which: A) It is glorified the Emperor Gaius Valerius Dioclitianus loved by gods. The Council and Assembly of the people build the monument. B) At Constantza there is an invocation of the Sun God as a protection for the health of the Emperor Caius Valerius Diocletian and Marcus Aurelius Maximian. C) Funerary stela (39-40 page.) dated at the end of IIIc and the beginning of IV c AD, the epitaph begins with to MansGods (Dis Manibus D·M).
Respecting somehow the chronological order may we remind Silviu Sanie with”Roman Civilization to East from Carpathians and the Roman World in the Territory of Moldavia II-III c AD* who at the p. 215-217 presents the Barboşi Roman Camp (near Galaţi) I-III c AD where there were discovered religious tokens, representation of the sun (sol), of the snake, of the bull as symbol of the force and the fertility. The symbol of the sun was discovered in the Thraco Getic treasures but also from the classical Dacian epoch I-III c AD. Also, at Barboşi there were discovered the representations of the oriental gods as: Jupiter, Dolichenus, Meri, Mithras, but also of the Danubian Knight and Thrac Knight.
In the context mentioned above there is an inscription from Turnu Severin presented by Viorica Enchiuc-Mihai in: “The Point of View  According to Dacian Writing” in History Annals1/1979, 104 p.:
,, Ares our god!
Twenty years lived in Drobeta
This leader of the Macedonica alae
From Amutirum citadel to Caron leaves for”.
Coming back to Silviu Sanie`s work at page 219  we can see another Christian representation. There were 5 objects of old Christian type at Barboşi (p. 220 .):

1.A cross of nacre with height of 1,7cm.

2.A ceramic fragment in which there are carved the letters MT PM that would mean MAGNA MATER. The 36 drawing, Figure 10. -The inscription is from II-IIIc AD.

3.A pendant cross from nacre with height 2cm.dated from the first half of IIIcAD. The 23 drawing, Fig.3;

 4.Honorific inscription altar BΠ P;

5. Middle dimensions amphora found into a tomb. On it there is painted with red dye the letters BΠ P.

From the work of Emilian Popescu “Greek and Latin inscriptions IV-XIIIcAD” we mention:

Transilvania: Potaisa Turda, Cluj County-there is found a gemstone of onyx no.435 at 391 page, IIIc-beginning IVcAD in Greek language and at 391 page- the translation is presented: “Jesus Christ the sun of God, Saviour”; Moldova –III-IV c AD it is discovered at Poeneşti, Vaslui County, a neck of amphora with a piece of inscription with red dye X(p ίσтός).
Because the space isn`t permitted to bring examples from each group of the table, however the drawings attached to the work give us the possibility to present in detail,

“The Christian votive inscription from the Biertan” situated on the little table of a subassembly of bronze, probably a part from a Chandelier. Biertan is in the south of Dumbrăveni, Târnava Mare county, then in the heart of Transilvania. “The votive little table was found by Kurt Hordet after it stayed much time in the cupboards of the Bruckenthal Museum (as the historian C.C Giurescu said to us in The Romanians` History, 1943, 98 page). Kurt Horedt makes-up a study of this discovery strengthening the great meaning of this object. The inscription is in Latin and contents: Ego Zenovius votum posui( Me, Zenoviu put this offering) and it refers to a Christian monogram from bronze given by author of the inscription. The form of letters and the form of monogram Show the IV c AD . The dating of the inscription is after the retreat of the legions from Dacia, reason that strengthens the problem of the continuity of Daco-Roman population in Transilvania and of the Christian cult.
There are in the same drawings annexed a few lamps with cross put in evidence. At the same page 99 from “The Romanians` History”,C.C Giurescu presents a lamp of bronze with cross. The lamp was found in the Luciu commune, Ialomotza county, Muntenia. It is dated V-VI c AD.
The historian Dumitru Tudor in “Roman Oltenia”* presents us at the 90-91 pages a few lamps with Christian signs from II-VI c AD found at Sucidava, Orlea, Romula. The pages present further a few Gnostic signs: a gemstone with abrasax inscription on a face and a star with seven arms on the other face. There is a Christian lamp from Romula from IV c AD at the 469 page.In the middle this lamp presents a cross and on its edge a yellow-greenish glaze which shows the importation that Sucidava made from Dobrogea or Near Orient, because this was the manner or workshops from those place in that time. But so the author shows this kind of lamps found at Romula, too, some of fragments dating from V-VI c AD.
Also in the book of Dumitru Tudor we can meet some specifications about the “amphora with ribs”, marked with inscriptions painted (tituli picti). They are remarked at Sucidava, ones being of import but ones local. The inscriptions are performed on the neck of these amphorae with red dye, some of them being written by the priest of the garrison of Sucidava. Here is some invocations: ”Help me Lord”; “Too Bright God”; “Mother of God”; “Too Saint God”; ”Mother Gave Birth to Christ”; The Light of God. On some of the amphorae there were found the signature of the producers with apocaliptic letters round the crossshapes onograms. Round the cross there were letres and monograms as well: A and Ω ; XMΓ; MΘ; ΘΥ;ΘΦ; AΩ etc.
So we see above in the table made by Nicolae Gudea there are mentioned the discoveries of churches at Slăveni and Porolissum, but we can speak also about the “Christian Basilica” discovered by the diggings made at Sucidava in 1946-47 years, about which Dumitru Tudor writes that: “It remains the first and unique monuments of this kind in according to the beginnings of the spread of Christianity at the North of the Danube. By the coins and other traces picked-up from its debris this “basilica” dates from VI c AD” The church is in the N.W.of the citadel.It presents an apsis orientated to east. It had a length of 20,90m and width of 10,20m. It was built from bricks and stone. The “daconicon” was made from two little rooms on the left wing,part and in the center of the nave it was a pulpit. The floor was with bricks in nave and with concret at apsis. Both inside of the church and its walls, there were made inhumations in coffins made of Byzantine type bricks. One of the brick was decorated with a cross. Some of the coins found in the ruins of the church were from the period of Mauriciu Tiberiu(596-597), time when the Avars set on fire not only the church but all the citadel. Also at the garbage pit near the monument there was further found a piece from a little bathtub made from terra-cotta marked by an “interdotted cross and the superior part of an amphora which it was marked the name of the local priest Lukonochos son of Lykatios. The author of the book “Roman Oltenia” makes a connection between the building of the church in Sucidava and the activity delivered through “Novela XI”by Justinian the Emperor for development of the Christianity at the north of the Danube. “Novela XI” was given on 14th April 535 by his archibishop from the Iustiniana Prima Diocese Church. In this circular letter there are mentioned the other centers as: Litterata (Palanca Nouă) in Banat and Recidiva, toponimic that would be Sicibida-Sucidava locality, an important economic, military and church cener in the period of Iustinian. There is a Latin Christian inscription found in Ulmetum belonging also to Iustinian`s period mentioning as follows as: ”a detachment of young lancers”(“pedatura militium LanciarumJuniorum”)
The IVth century AD is the period of more numerous discoveries, when there were Christianezed much more objects of cult. We shall give examples using the documentation: “Greek and Latin Inscriptions from IV-XIII c AD discovered in Romania” by Emilian Popescu who presents numerous monuments, even churches in wich many martyrs were inhumated: There is a marble plate discovered in Tomis from IV-V c AD: “Here reposing martyr of Christ and bishop….”
There were martyrs in the IVth century and also after the recognition of Christianity, after Constantin the Greatest in 325 AD. The Barbarians who rushed the Christian territories provoked victims among the Christian people, but especially among those who were making missionary. About the missionary activity delivered by the bishops of Schythia and the perils, which they had meet, at 58 page a relating of Sozomenus is in his Ecclesiastic History, book 7, 26 rows 6-9: with regarding bishop Theotimus I and Arcadius, martyrs in Dobrogea attested by the inscriptions no.194-267 (205 page). On a limestone plate discovered in the Coemetricalis church mines in the north citadel in III-IV c AD there is the text:“(To Martyrs) Chiril, Chindias and Dasius commend their soul Eufrasius. The lack of cross from the monument shows us the prudence of the Christians in period of Dioclitian, 267 AD. The author presents the crypt of a church from IV-V c AD in which there were discovered the wood coffins dated IV c Ad with four beheaded martyrs. In a church from Niculiţel, Tulcea county, Dobrogea, România, there were discovered three inscriptions from IV c AD which mentioned: a) martyrs for Christ; b) martyrs-Zotikos, Attalos, Kamasis, Philipos”; c)inscription is X(ristos).
These martyrs are mentioned in martirdom as well: Martirologium Hieronymianum on date of 4 th June which contents the first three and the fourth is met in Martyrologium Syriacum, at the same date. The four martyrs, probably died with others twenty five comrads entered for the same lists. Another fragment of marble of a sarcophgus lid discovered in Tomis from IV-Vth c AD contents an inscription. Its translation is: May God have mercy upon those without body! Here reposing Alexandru soon converted (65 page).
The Christian people called neophytes those who were initiated in Christianity and they were to receive the Christianity and as though exemplified by the 32 inscription (68 page) carved in the left corner on the stella of a marble descovered in Tomis, from IV-Vth c AD. The translation is: Here reposing Maru, of two years, 10 months and 14 days daughter of Ioan, administrator of St. Ioan Church. The insription of the 6th row “Ioan” is spelled “Ioannou”, the name being of Judaic origin, Christianized.In the 8throw it is spelled Aghiou Io(annou). Also there is 35 inscription from V-VIth c AD from a fragment of a leg of marble table which is finished in a shape of lion head where are some names of people who worship. Every name has a cross: “To fulfill the worship of Sabina, Leontina, Venera and Eufemia”. At Constantza 53 inscription  discovered  now at lhe British Museum, London. 53 Inscription is on the gemstone of cornaline dated IV-V c AD. Translation: “Jesus Christ, sun of God, Saviour (at 90 page); 54 Inscription is on the lamp of ceramics discovered at Constanza dated in IVth c.AD. Translation: “My peace I give you (Pacem meam do vobis)”. 55 Inscription on a lamp of bronze discovered at Tomis, IVth c. AD.It has on a face Xr(istos) in Greek language and the other face †.It was discovered 208 Inscription(218-219 page) at Ulmetum Pantelimonul de Sus commune, Constantza county, Dobrogea, România, IIIrd-IVth c AD . It was preserved into the wall of inside of Roman camp. Transaltion: ”Be healthy, those left in life and esteeem Mani with incense because also you come to us” Aurelius Sisinicus, villager lived more 70 years and those left in life and to wife…” We notice that the element of incense for dead people appeared, old, Christian custom of Getas from Dobrogea. It was found at Slăveni, Gostavăţ commune, Olt county, 399 Inscription on a chip from a limestone plate dated IV-Vth c AD. It is printed a monogramatic cross showing that the Christianity was at Slăveni Roman camp still IVth c AD with Greek inscription. Xp(ίσтός).
If we discussed till now about the birth of Cristianity in Dacian provinces that belonged to Roman Empire, archelogical evidences move us in Daco-Carpic territories.At Chitila, on a clogged hill, in 2001 year, the researcher Vasile Boroneanţ* with his team discovered much more archeological objects from IInd-Vth c.AD that belonged to Carps from Getas people. The most important item is a bronze club-shaped sceptre in shape of a bishop`s mitre. Such as the author says that the item according to its shape and ornament, its origins lies in the tradition of prehistoric sceptres in the Carpatho-Danubian area. The sceptre has a globular form with two orifices. There is a cross which splits its surface in four lobs. Each lobe has an oval opening where a gem must have been embeded.A cross must have been been set in the superior orifice. The sceptre discovered is a newly invented shape, instead of the item figuring some divinity, the local craftsman imagined the sceptre shaped as an imperial crown, and set a cross in the upper orifice between the four fir-tree leaves. The new invented shape functioned in parallel with the globe and cross, after the IVth c AD after the edict of Mediolanum.
If the stones assumed the historic true by inscriptions which announce and strengthen the continuity of the Christian religious cult in the territory of the provinces of Dacia, the writings of the patristic authors mentioned, too as faithful, loyal of primary Christianity tradition and authentic from point of historic view in evolution of the Church. Hyppolyt Romanul (c.170-236) in his work “About the Twelve Apostles” asserts us: “Andrei announced the Word of Gospel To Schyths and Thracians.In this way the Romanian Ortodox Church is called everywhere by Christian people Church of Saint Apostle Andrei”.
Dumitru Tudor in his article Philippopolis, 580page, of “Enciclopedy of Roman Civilization” speaks us about the preach of the Saint Apostle Pavel at Philippopolis, Getic county, that here it is realized “ a human and liturgical nucleus of the European Christianity, as though Bartolomeu Anania called it in “New Testament” 338-339 pages, in this way Geto-Dacians were practicing Christianity before Rome or other European countries.
Walfridus Strabo de Reichenau 808/809-849 introduces in “Poemata” a composition dedicated to Saint Apostle Filip in Item de Sancto Apostolo Philipo Christi when asserts that Saint Apostle who worked “by clean grace” received from Jesus Christ taught the barbarian people from Schythia the Saint dogmas in order to believe in “Christ The Saviour of the World”.
Ado(Adonis) de Viennewho made a copy of the text “Martyrologicum Adonis” wrote about Fillip: who after converted Schythia at belief in Christ and named there deacons, priests and bishops” demonstrated in this way the old of church organization at our ancestors some inscriptions from the tombs speak us about numerous martyrs who died for Christianity. This historic fact led to create o new literary species “martyr act”, being a passing stage from the heathen antiquity to Christian era. The principal quality of the martyr act is the authenticity. Martyr acts, historical acts became numerously till IVth c.AD owing to the repeated violences of persecution. It seems this kind of acts won`t compose after 313AD owing to the religious liberty manifested by Emperor Constantine I the Greatest (307-337) at edict from Mediolanum. This martyr acts are imitated in a new literary structure ”lives of the Saints”.
The Christian life in Dacian territories are manifested continuously such as the historian Epiphanios Pentaglotos de Salamina (c 315-403) says us in his work Panarion (Against all heresies, LXX, 14-15) that Audius from Mesopotamia founded on the left of the Lower Danube, monasteries because there were communities well-organized.
The Literary School from Tomis and The School from the Lower Danube By religious writings either in Latin or in Greek, translations, are as a crown of all Dacian.
Religious culture risen by Te Deum Laudamus by Dacian bishop Niceta of Remesiana, the poet and composer.
-Vasile Pârvan, Epigrphic Contributions at the Daco-Roman Christianity, Bucharest, Socec, 1911
-Emilian Popescu, Greek and Latin Inscriptions IV-XIIIth c AD discovered in Romania, RSR Academia Publisher, Bucharest 1976
-Grigore Tocilescu, Epigraphic and Sculptural Monuments of the Antiquities National Museum in Bucharest, 1881
-Constantin Daicoviciu, Contributions at Religious Syncretism in Sarmizegetuza, Cluj Cartea Românească, 1930
-Dumitru Tudor, New Romanian Inscription from Oltenia and Dobrogea, Academia Publisher Bucharest,1956
-Dumitru Tudor, Roman Oltenia, RSR Academia Publisher, Bucharest,1968
-Nicolae Gudea, From Romanian Christianity History .Archeological Proves,
-Nicolae Cojocaru,Christian Cult Traditions :from the beginnings till today. Ortodox Christianity.
-Constantin C Giurescu, Romanian History, Cugetaarea Publisher, 1943.
-Histoire des religionesII* sous la direction d`Henri-Charles Puech, Galimard, 1972
-Mihail Diaconescu,Daco-Roman Literature History, Alcor Edimpex Publisher
-Vasile Boroneanţ, The Archeological Researches from Chitila, Ferm Chitila in 2001previous data and stratigraphy. History and
Museography Materials, vol. XVI, Bucharest.
Fr Constantin Alecse
Blog-ul in Romaneste
English Blog 





    History of Christianity in Romania

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Monograma lui Hristos Descoperita la Carsium-Harsova

Monograma lui Hristos, descoperită la Carsium

Dumitru MANOLACHE;1787;1;37193;0;Monograma-lui-Hristos-descoperita-la-Carsium.html 


În anul 1989, în urma unor lucrări de construire a unui bloc de pe strada Vadului, din oraşul Hârşova, judeţul Constanţa, a fost scoasă la lumină, dintr-o groapă menajeră, împreună cu alte fragmente ceramice, o parte din gâtul unei amfore, pe suprafaţa căreia era pictată cu vopsea roşie monograma Mântuitorului Iisus Hristos.

Studiul efectuat asupra artefactului de către dr. Constantin Nicolae, cercetător la Muzeul de Istorie şi Arheologie Constanţa, a dus la concluzia că monograma datează de la sfârşitul secolului al III-lea d.Hr., ceea ce dovedeşte că la Carsium, antica denumire a localităţii, viaţa creştină era o realitate concretă în perioada respectivă. Nici nu este de mirare, de vreme ce în veacul al VI-lea oraşul făcea parte din cele 14 episcopate care funcţionau în Scythia Minor.

Fragmentul ceramic are o înălţime de 25 cm. Vasul a fost confecţionat din pastă de calitate, bine arsă. Monograma despre care vorbim este executată îngrijit, cu vopsea roşie, literele fiind uşor arcuite. Inscripţia are o înălţime de 15, 5 cm. Reconstiturea ulterioară arată că vasul care avea desenată monograma Mântuitorului pe unul din mânere era o amforă de mari dimensiuni, de tip pontic, cel mai probabil cu corpul globular-piriform, des întâlnit pe litoralul vest-pontic în secolele al II-lea - al III-lea d. Hr. Inscripţia este cu atât mai interesantă cu cât ea ridică câteva probleme. Prima se referă la faptul că o monogramă de acest fel din perioada creştinismului timpuriu este destul de rar întâlnită pe o amforă romană din perioada despre care vorbim. Lucrul a fost însă explicat de Vasile Pârvan, care, încă de la începutul secolului trecut, arăta că astfel de monograme sunt mult mai vechi de era constantiniană, pe teritoriul nord-dunărean fiind identificate numeroase artefacte cu simboluri creştine din secolul al IV-lea. În Dobrogea însă, au fost identificate şi datate asemenea simboluri încă din secolul al III-lea. Mărturie în acest sens este şi opaiţul descoperit într-un mormânt de la Tomis, care are pe fund de trei ori imprimată crucea monogramatică.



În comparaţie cu monogramele din secolele al IV-lea - al VI-lea, inscripţia de la Carsium se caracterizează printr-o grafică îngrijită, executată, cum spune dl. Constantin Nicolae, "cu o anumită pioşenie, asemănându-se cu textul unei inscripţii de la Barboşi, judeţul Galaţi, descoperită în partea inferioară a gâtului unei amfore datate în secolele al II-lea - al III-lea d.Hr."

Artefacte creştine din secolul al III-lea

"Monograma creştină de la Carsium este importantă deoarece atestă, din punct de vedere arheologic, creştinismul încă de la sfârşitul secolului al III-lea. Dacă avem în vedere alte materiale timpurii, descoperite în săpături, cum ar fi un fragment de farfurie ornamentat cu peştişori incizaţi, sau desenul unei corăbii, executat în pasta crudă a unei cărămizi, la care atrage atenţia velatura dispusă pe un catarg în formă de cruce, putem spune cu temeinicie că la Carsium exista o viaţă creştină mult mai de timpuriu. Din păcate, dovezile din primele secole ale erei creştine sunt puţine din cauza persecuţiilor", ne-a declarat domnul cercetător Constantin Nicolae.

Carsium, oraş antic ridicat pe o fortificaţie getică

Cetatea romană şi romano-bizantină de la Carsium a fost construită, după toate probabilităţile, pe o fortificaţie getică din a doua jumătate a secolului I d. Hr. La începutul secolului al II-lea, în timpul războaielor dacice, în anul 103, împăratul Traian a întărit fortificaţia cu ziduri de piatră. Cetatea este frecvent menţionată în documentele Antichităţii începând cu secolul al II-lea, până în secolul al VII-lea (Ptolemeu, Tabula Peutingeriana, Itinerarium Antonini, Notitia Dignitatum, Hierocles, Procopius, Geograful din Ravenna) cu numele Carsum, Carsio, Carso, Carsos. După cum spun specialişii, cel mai probabil toponimul are origine tracă şi este legat de aspectul stâncos al locului. Din nefericire, nici la această dată nu se cunoaşte conturul fortificaţiei antice. Surse istorice indică distrugerea repetată a cetăţii şi refacerea ei în timpul împăraţilor Constantin cel Mare şi Justinian. Mărimea şi importanţa localităţii antice sugerează că aici existau ateliere ceramice, cariere pentru extracţia calcarului, ateliere pentru cioplitul acestuia, pentru producerea vaselor de sticlă, ateliere metalurgice, de prelucrare a lemnului, a pieilor etc.

Nu se cunoaşte nici când, nici cum s-a sfârşit istoria anticului Carsium. În cazul altor situri arheologice mai bine cunoscute s-a demonstrat că atacurile avaro-slave din a doua jumătate a secolului al VI-lea şi trecerea slavilor în Peninsula Balcanică în secolul următor, până la venirea bulgarilor, nu au întrerupt contactul cu Bizanţul. Este foarte posibil ca şi în cazul Carsiumului legăturile cu romanitatea răsăriteană să se fi menţinut până pe la anul 678.

Oraş aparţinător unei episcopii din veacul al VI-lea

Descoperirea unor vestigii creştine în anticul Carsium nu mai este o surpriză, de vreme ce oraşul făcea parte, în veacul al VI-lea, din cele 14 episcopate care funcţionau în Scythia Minor. Cercetări mai vechi şi mai recente au dus la numeroase descoperiri creştine. Vasile Pârvan descria lampa de bronz, cu ansa cruciformă, descoperită la Luciu, spunând despre ea că este posibil să fi ajuns în stânga Dunării, într-o comunitate barbară, după ce a fost utilizată la Carsium. În 1963, Andrei Aricescu semnala şi el descoperirea unor materiale de factură creştină în aceeaşi aşezare antică.

"Pentru secolele al IV-lea - al VI-lea putem vorbi, aici, la Carsium, despre o comunitate creştină puternică strânsă în jurul unei biserici episcopale, cum rezultă din lista celor 14 episcopate din Scythia Minor între care se află şi aşezarea noastră. Nu ştim unde se află bazilica episcopală de aici. În anul 1995, în cetate s-a identificat o construcţie având absidă, cu paviment din cărămizi decorate cu pentagrame. Credem că este vorba despre o bazilică creştină. Din păcate, deasupra ei sunt nivele arheologice consistente care trebuie cercetate amănunţit. Aşa se face că săpăturile la monument nu au început încă. În cercetările din ultimul deceniu, au fost scoase la lumină multe dovezi ale activităţii creştine pentru perioada romano-bizantină. Este vorba de fragmente de vase cu inscripţii creştine, cruci stampate pe fundul unor vase, fragmente de opaiţe cu toarta în formă de cruce. Nu ne aşteptăm la mari surprize din punct de vedere al descoperirilor, deoarece peste cetatea romană s-a construit cetatea medievală care a funcţionat până după 1829. La fiecare refacere - şi au fost extrem de multe -, edificiile vechi erau demolate, materialele dispersate, nivelate şi împinse cât mai departe pentru a face loc noilor construcţii. Aşa se face că descoperirile creştine apar exact în locurile în care te aştepţi mai puţin", ne-a mai declarat dr. Constantin Nicolae.

Mai trebuie amintit că în campaniile din anii 1988-1989, din perimetrul cuprins între străzile Carsium şi Unirii, au fost descoperite la Hârşova mai multe ziduri şi un turn cu planul în forma literei "U", despre care regretatul Radu Florescu a presupus că aparţin unei bazilici.

Toate aceste descoperiri şi mai ales monograma Mântuitorului Iisus Hristos prefigurează rolul jucat de aşezarea antică de la Carsium în viaţa religioasă timpurie de pe teritoriul ţării noastre, tot atâtea dovezi incontestabile ale vechimii creştinismului românesc.


The Spreading of the Christianity in the Rural Areas of Post-Roman Dacia (4th-7th centuries) by Alexandru Madgearu


Like in other western Roman provinces, the first Christians in Dacia were inhabitants of the cities. Not a single Christian object dated before the withdrawal of the Roman administration in 275 was found outside the cities and the camps.

The Christian character of a 3rd  century lamp decorated with a chrismon on the bottom, found in a rural settlement at Gornea, is not sure (Gudea 2003, p.267). The  objects are few, but still significant for the spreading of the new religion in this peripheral province. In the cities were discovered: a Christianized funeral inscription (Cluj-Napoca), two funeral monuments with Christian symbols (Potaissa-Turda), a gem with the representation of the Good Shepherd (Potaissa), another gem with Christian symbols (Romula-Resca), a lamp decorated with a cross (Romula), a fragmentary "cup ornate with crosses and grape stalks (Potaissa). Some-objects with uncertain Christian character were excavated in the camps and their canabae, like the pottery shards from Gherla decorated with the symbol of the fish, or the objects from Racovifa (praetorium II) and Copäceni.

The single certain Christian object found in a Roman camp is a funeral monument from Gilau.

The concentration of most of these finds near Potaissa (present-day  Turda,- Cluj County) could be explained by the presence of the V Macedonica legion in the camp of-Potaissa. This legion was moved here in 167 AD from Troesmis (Turcoaia, Tulcea Cöunty, in Dobrudja).

Having strong relations with the oriental provinces, Dobrudja (a part of the Roman province Moesia Inferior) was an area where Christianity began to spread since the 2nd century.

 Read the entire  article at Bibliotheca on Line


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