By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest
The Romanian Patriarchy has strongly denied taking part in any meeting with the representatives of the US corporation Chevron amid protests in the country against shale gas extraction, after a monk accused the Romanian Patriarch of accepting money from the American company in order to forbid priests to join and encourage such public demonstrations.
“The Romanian Patriarchy strongly rejects any insinuation about an alleged meeting of its representatives with delegates of the US corporation Chevron in order to discuss a presumptive financial help for the Church in return for support of the shale gas exploration”, reads a press release of the Patriarchy.
It also went on to say that the monk who accused Patriarch Daniel, the head of the Romanian Orthodox Church, of siding with Chevron is not a hermit, as he alleged, but is illegally wearing religious clothes.
This week, a group of villagers blocked the access of a shale gas exploration team in the Neamt County. Among them was a monk who accused Patriarch Daniel of accepting money from Chevron in order to ban priests from attending anti-shale gas rallies. “Chevron paid the Satan Patriarch and banned all the priests in the country from taking to the streets, they are afraid now (…) We have to go out and tell the people the truth (…) This is the land of the Romanians (…) we refuse to give up our rights” said a monk looking man during the protest in the village of Radeni, as quoted by local website Ziarpiatraneamt.ro
The Church reminded that it recommended priests and monks to abstain from personally attending public manifestations for or against shale gas explorations lest they divide the Orthodox community, but rather to call on authorities to provide explanations and responsible involvement, the press release also reads.
The Romanian Orthodox Church’s position comes after many local priests led protests against shale gas explorations, especially in the Vaslui County, which late last year saw the largest such demonstrations which prompted Chevron to suspend explorations works several times.
In a decision of the Holly Synod passed in October, the Church shuns to take a firm position on the shale gas exploration, confining to recommending the state to completely and correctly inform the local communities about the advantages and both the positive and negative consequences of shale gas explorations.