History of Communism in Europe

Volume 14, 2023

Left-Wing Radical Politics and Emergency Powers in Interwar Europe

Iuliana Cindrea-Nagy
Pages 161-180

From Communists to Rebellious
Repressive Measures and Narratives of the State Against the Old Calendarist Communities in Romania (1924-1939)

After the consultative synod at Constantinople in 1923, the Romanian Orthodox Church agreed to adopt a revised version of the Julian calendar. This meant a break with tradition that brought about a series of crises on a spiritual and political level. Dissent movements, known as Old Calendarist, started to emerge in the villages of Moldavia and Bessarabia; led by defrocked monks, these groups posed a threat for the Romanian Orthodox Church and for the newly formed state and its modernising goals. Accused of sympathising with the communist ideas, as well as of propagating them, the Old Calendarist leaders were labelled as dangerous Bolsheviks and aggressive measures were adopted by both state and church authorities in order to destroy the movements and disperse their members. Based on press articles of the time and archival documents, the present study analyses the development that the Old Calendarist movement underwent in Bessarabia, a region with a strong monastic tradition, as well as the discourse and politics of state authorities against this specific community.