The Romanian government has passed a law declaring August 16 the “National Day of Awareness of Violence Against Christians.”
The legislation was passed the last week in June “as a sign of awareness by Romanian citizens of the violence and persecution to which Christians in the world were and are subjected today,” the text of the law states.
Christians are by far the most persecuted religious group in the world and globally “are the victims of at least 75 percent of all religiously-motivated violence and oppression,” according to a 2017 study by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), which added that “the extent of this persecution is largely ignored by our media.”
In its World Watch List 2020, Open Doors revealed that Christian persecution around the globe has reached unprecedented levels, with over 260 million Christians facing “high levels of persecution.”
To commemorate National Day of Awareness of Violence Against Christians, the Romanian government will illuminate in red the Romanian Parliament, the Government of Romania, the central and local public authorities, the Arc de Triumph, and the Mogosoaia Palace.
August 16 was chosen for the annual day of remembrance because it coincides with the feast of the Brancoveanu Martyrs, who were canonized by the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1992. Muslim Ottoman Turks invaded Romania in 1714 and captured Constantin Brancoveanu, the ruler of Wallachia. Together with his four sons, Brancoveanu was taken to Istanbul where he was tortured and eventually executed by decapitation along with sons and his treasurer Ianache Vacarescu.
The legislation was put forward by Deputy Daniel Gheorghe, who said that he created the bill to inform the public, including young people, about the role of Christianity in the history of Romania and the ongoing nature and extent of Christian persecution in the world.
Gheorghe said he hopes the law will encourage Christians to defend their right to practice their faith without fear or harassment.
The Pew Research Center revealed in 2018 that Romania is now the most religious nation in Europe, based on four factors: the importance people ascribe to religion in their lives, regular religious practice, prayer life, and certainty of belief.
In Romania, 64 percent of the population say they believe in God with absolute certainty, while 50 percent say religion is very important in their lives, 50 percent attend services at least monthly, and 44 percent say they pray daily.
Based on these figures, Pew said that 55 percent of Romanians could be considered as “highly religious.”