The President of Romania bestowed on Wednesday the National Order of Merit upon a priest who reposed earlier this month and who was instrumental in the fight for Romanian democracy in the early 1990s.
Fr. Sorin Grecu held a hunger strike before the statue of Lenin that once stood on Bucharest’s Free Press Square, which led to the monument’s dismantling.
The President of Romania bestowed the Order “as a sign of high appreciation and gratitude for the courage with which he defended religious freedom and the principles of democracy, both before and after the events of December 1989, as well as for his significant contribution to the coagulation and support of the Romanian community in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.
Fr. Sorin reposed in the Lord on January 6 at the age of 61. He served in the priesthood for 41 years. The first church he served was in Peretu, Teleorman County, which he himself founded despite persecution from the Securitate.
He became known in March 1990, when he went on a hunger strike in front of the Lenin statue on Free Press Square, demanding the removal of all communist symbols, namely the statues of Lenin and Peter Groza, reports the Basilica News Agency.
Later, in April, the longest anti-communist protest in the history of Romania began on University Square in Bucharest, brutally ending with the arrival of miners in Bucharest and the violence of June 14-15, 1990. Disappointed with the situation in the country, Fr. Sorin emigrated to London, where he founded a parish in 1993.
Today, the Wings statue stands on Free Press Square where Lenin once stood, dedicated to the victims of communist repression. The procession with Fr. Sorin’s body stopped on this spot, where he once led his hunger strike for deliverance from communism, and a memorial service was served the repose of his soul.
Fr. Sorin was buried near the church that he founded in Peretu on Thursday.