The Church of Romania declared its autocephaly in 1865 with strong protests from Constantinople, who eventually recognized the autocephaly in 1885.
The Church of Romania was raised to the rank of Patriarchy in 1925. The majority of Romanians in Romania by a very wide margin (about 20 million, or 86.7% of the population, according to the 2002 census data) belong to it.
In terms of population, the Church of Romania is second in size only to the Church of Russia.
The primate is His Beatitude Daniel (Ciobotea), Archbishop of Bucharest, Metropolitan of Ungro-Vlachia, and Patriarch of All Romania, Locum Tenens of Caesarea in Cappadocia.
Romanians in the Republic of Moldova (a region formerly known as “Moldavia”) belonging to the Metropolis of Bessarabia, having resisted Russification for 192 years (after the annexation of Bessarabia by the Russian Empire in 1812), are improbably said to currently number about 2 million.
The Metropolis of Bessarabia is part of the Romanian patriarchate. In 2001 at the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights, the Metropolis won a landmark legal victory against the government of the Republic of Moldova for its official recognition in that country.
The Romanian Orthodox Church is organized as the Romanian Patriarchate. The highest hierarchical, canonical and dogmatical authority of the Romanian Orthodox Church is the Holy Synod.
There are six metropolia and ten archdioceses in Romania, containing 14,035 priests and deacons. Almost 631 monasteries exist inside the country for some 8,059 monks and nuns.
Three diasporan metropolia and two diasporan dioceses function outside Romania proper.
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As of 2004, there are, inside Romania, fifteen theological universities where more than 10,898 students (some of them from Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Serbia) currently study for a doctoral degree. More than 15,116 churches exist in Romania for the Orthodox faithful.
Following the creation of Greater Romania after the First World War, Orthodox Christians in Moldova became part of the Church of Romania. Following Stalin’s annexation of the country in 1944, the church there was again brought under the authority of the Church of Russia.
Following the fall of communism, Moldova’s government refused to allow the Romanian church to exercise any authority in Moldova. The Bessarabian metropolis was created by the Romanian Patriarchate to cater for those clergy and people wanting to return part of Moldova to Romanian rule.
With the European Court ruling of 2001, the Metropolis of Bessarabia was declared to be a part of the Church of Romania and permitted to operate in Moldova. 2003 figures show the Metropolis of Bessarabia has 84 parishes in Moldova while the autonomous Moldovan Orthodox Church has 1080 parishes.