Tuesday, January 20, 2009

National Redemption Cathedral

As a prologue to this post I will tell you something about myself. I am a convinced atheist. Yes, drop the oh my gods, and servant of Satan (yes, I had people call me this after I said I was an atheist. If I don't believe in God, I obviously do not believe in Satan either) bullshit right now, or stop reading this post. Wait for another. Religion, any kind of religion, does not satisfy me. If I was to pick one, I'd pick Wicca religion, because of the cool spells they have, but I've watched a video of one of their rituals which was so damn embarrassing I had to quickly turn it off. Still, I would prefer the moody mother nature against the benevolent omnipotent god that does nothing aside give out punishments only after we're dead. There are more philosophical reasons to my decision, but I will let them for a longer more prominent post on religion, I'm saving for later.

So, let's start with the National Redemption Cathedral.
"Construction on the National Redemption Cathedral will begin on the 27th of April, after the Easter festivities, says the Romanian Patriarchy.
According to estimates, the constructions will take 4 years without finishing touches. The capacity of the building will be of 5000 people, almost 5 times more than the current Patriarchal Cathedral.
The costs for the construction of the new Cathedral will reach 400 million Euro, of which half will go to the actual construction and half will go to the finishing touches, painting and decorating the building." ~ Adevarul de seara (Romanian newspaper. translated, goes "The truth of tonight")

On first glance one might say. Okay what's wrong about that?. Well... if you've asked that question, you've not thought about this fully yet.

The question on my mind after reading the full article, was "Who is going to pay for this."
The Orthodox Romanian Church does not have those funds. I know. I am absolutely sure about that. There are national treasures in the form of churches in the north of the country that have been waiting for renovations for at least 10 years now, but could not be started, or completed because the money ran out. So... where's the money coming from? Donations? I think not. It's impossible. There is no way that amount can be raised by donations in this country, and to tell the truth, I think that is true for most other countries as well. So, the church doesn't have the money, the population doesn't have the physical money... the only option left is the state.

Now we open a completely different box of total crap of which kind we can only find here.

400 million Euro is a bit much for this country. Even for the state. If the state will be paying for this, which, I'm assuming it will, considering there's no other place this money can come from, in the best case scenario is 50 mil Euro per year (considering half is the building and the rest is for decorations 200mil/4year = 50 mil/year). I'm going to start with the less impacted population class. The non-orthodox people. As an estimate, I'd say orthodox is the major religion in Romania leading with 86.7%. So the rest would have no benefit whatsoever of the current construction. I as a non-orthodox, (yes atheists get here as well) am not pleased having my tax money spent on that humongous waste of money. I will never go to church from today forward, nor will I ever visit that place. Now that we got that out of the way, there are two more arguments I have against the state paying for this.

Argument #1 and probably the most obvious by now. Couldn't that money be spent elsewhere. Think of all the homeless shelters, orphanages, hospitals that can be built or renovated with 400 million Euro. And if they found 50 mil Euro per year for 4 years, I bet they could find for more than four years. There are teachers striking almost every year, because of the shoestring salaries they get. Doctors as well. Don't they deserve the money more? What would you prefer. Giving your children better education and health care or building a humongous piece of crap you'll probably visit only 3~4 times a year. If you've answered the latter, please don't read my blog ever again. You're beyond salvation.

Argument #2 and with a political implication here. I thought it normal that religion has to be separated from the state, in a democratic environment. We are not in the flaming middle ages when the church had almost the same power as the king or even greater. So, why exactly is the state paying for this? What will it get in return. Will they pay a humongous rent to justify spending all that money? They probably won't. You'd loose all your popularity if you're going to ask the church to pay rent. 86.7% are orthodox. Remember that.

So where exactly are we, dear readers, at the end of this long blog post. Well.. we're nowhere. You are in front of your computer either thinking "That sucks man, your government .... " , "You are so going to hell....", "I never thought of it that way....", and I'm wondering if most of my compatriots will ever get past the nationalistic+religious stiffy they got from "actively" contributing to their nation's religious salvation. Again, I'm assuming that the state is going to pay for this monstrosity and not donors or the church. I ruled those out, earlier, but hey, maybe Romanian people are more wealthy than I know.


  1. 5,000??? Are those people going to the church or to the 'super-ecclesiastic' shopping center?????

  2. I so agree with this.
    I believe the projected Cathedral is nothing more than an exhibitionist and megalomaniac attempt at making up for the mistakes of the past. As far as I know, Teoctist (God rest his soul, and I mean that in all seriousness, am not sarcastic)did not criticize at all (out of understandable fear probably) Ceausescu's project of utterly destroying and hiding between apartment buildings century-old churches in Bucharest. Money should be spent on reconstructing and repairing those or with developping a wing in a history museum dealing with the destructions of those times. A very expensive (counter-separation-between-church-and-state) church mega-mall (reflecting a global tendency to make everythig huge, "super size" like the meals at McDonald's) is not the answer.