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The Religious Identity of the Catholics of Moldavia


Journal: Romanian Review of Regional Studies
ISSN 1841-1576

Volume: VII;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 99;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Religious identity | Catholics | Moldavia | Csango | Acculturation

Catholics represent almost 5% of the total population of Moldavia. Their spiritual identity was formed in opposition to that of the Orthodox majority and according to the universal church dogmata, preached by the missionary priests who reached the territory surrounded by the Carpathians, the Nister, the Black Sea, the Danube and the Milcov as early as the 14th century. In the Middle Ages, religion was the means of differentiating oneself from the others and not ethnicity. Therefore, the large Catholic communities around Roman and Bacău, of mixed ethnic origin (Hungarian and Romanian) and of different ages (due to the Transcarpathian movement of the population from Transylvania), considered themselves to be Catholics and nothing else until the modern period. Once the ideas of nation and nationality appeared, these biethnic groups were gradually involved in the process of formation of the modern states (Romania and Hungary). The Catholics of other origins, such as Polish, German, Armenian, Rroma, French and Italian are very few and some even became completely Romanian, preserving only their religious identity. As many of the speakers of Hungarian and Romanian (called Csangos by the Hungarians and the Secklers) lived in Moldavia, it was inevitable for them to be subjected to a natural process of becoming Romanian, through school, army and church for the past 150 years. Yet, they managed to preserve unaltered their laws, customs and superstitions, supported by the active participation in the spiritual and social life of the community.
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