New head of Moldavia and Bucovina Orthodox church

The ceremony was attended by Orthodox Patriarch Daniel, President Traian Basescu and thousands of people. The new head of Moldavia and Bucovina Metropolitan Church, Teofan, in his inauguration speech yesterday, talked about the mission ahead of him and called on all hierarchs and priests inside the church to help local communities.

"If you do not do this, you will lose everything you have obtained in life and your wisdom will remain in vain," he told clerics present. Teofan also spoke about the special mission of his church in relation with Basarabia. "The church of Moldavia and Bucovina has a special responsibility in its relation with Basarabia and, with God's help, will continue to do its work with a lot of courage," he said.

At the end of the ceremony held in Iasi, Teofan gave Patriarch Daniel an icon representing St. Nicodim of Tismana. Before being elected Patriarch, Daniel was head of the metropolitan church of Moldavia.

The ceremony was attended by thousands of people, including President Traian Basescu, who came from Cluj especially for the event, ever since Saturday evening. He was accompanied by Democrat-Liberal leaders Emil Boc, Gheorghe Flutur and Elena Udrea.

Before Teofan was sworn in, the clerics and the people present attended a holy liturgy at the Metropolitan Cathedral. The relics of St. Parascheva were also displayed to the public to mark the event.

After the ceremony, President Basescu congratulated Teofan, saying he will carry through all the projects begun for the good of Romanians and the Orthodox Church.

"The Metropolitan Church of Moldavia is a strong center of Orthodoxy, which runs social assistance and philanthropic activities for the needy. Teofan will most certainly carry these through. Congratulations," said President Basescu.

Secretary of State Gigel Florinel Stirbu afterwards read a congratulatory message on behalf of PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu, expressing the government's full support for the new leader of the Moldavia Church.

Teofan was initially supposed to be sworn in on May 4, but the ceremony was postponed because Daniel suffered a double fracture in his left ankle and was not in an appropriate health condition to travel to Iasi and attend the event. In the Orthodox Church's hierarchy, the head of Moldavia Church is second in importance after the patriarch, running the highest number of parishes and monasteries. After the event, Basescu saluted the over 5,000 people gathered around the cathedral and afterwards headed back to his hotel, where he had lunch with PD-L leaders.

Seventeen nuns who came to attend the ceremony yesterday were detained by Iasi police for "loud and uncivilized behavior."

According to eyewitnesses quoted by Mediafax, the nuns yelled at police forces that had gathered for the event, "You're sons of Judas!" The reasons for the quarrel are yet unknown. After that, the nuns continued to yell and fight with police, nearby the Metropolitan Cathedral. The 17 nuns were taken to the police station, where they were identified and after that, released with a warning.