BOR in an election year: “The priest has the obligation to maintain neutrality during election campaigns”

The Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR) decided during the Holy Synod that priests must maintain their neutrality during election campaigns, in public statements and in practical activity.

BOR directory for the election year – Photo Archive

It was published Head of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church regarding the electoral year, considering that in 2024 we will have European parliamentary, local, legislative and presidential elections.

Priests must be neutral during election campaigns, it was decided within the Holy Synod of BOR.

“In his capacity as a citizen of the Fatherland and spiritual father of all his parishioners, regardless of their political orientation, the priest has the freedom, the blessing and the duty to, from his position and through the spiritual means that are specific to him, participate in the life of the city , supporting activities aimed at promoting the public good and opposing any measures or activities that prove to be in contradiction with Orthodox Christian teaching and morals. In order to respect the political options of his believers, the priest has the obligation to maintain neutrality during the electoral campaigns, both in public statements and in practical activity, in relation to issues of a political nature. The political option of the priest will be expressed only by secret personal vote.“, it is mentioned in the Guide of the Holy Synod, published by

At the same time, they are not allowed to run for parliamentary or local elections; to participate in electoral campaigns as a supporter and to hold positions of dignitary/high civil servant at the central or local level, in the Romanian State or in other states.

Under what conditions can priests and deacons apply

However, priests and deacons are allowed to run only as independents and only for the capacity of local councilor and county councilor in Romania, under certain conditions, respectively:the lack of Orthodox lay candidates, well trained, able to effectively represent the communities they come from and whose composition includes Orthodox believers; violation of political neutrality or local public support of a political party by the servants of other cults or religious organizations; the promotion by some political parties of politicians who have constantly attacked the institution of the Church and the Christian moral values ​​of society or the candidacy of those persons as independents“.

However, they cannot run “without the written approval of their Lessors“. According to the Rulebook published by, the approval is granted following the request, in a meeting of the Permanence of the Diocesan Council and “only those clerics considered capable of promoting the interests of the community in local councils and county councils”.

In the event that there is evidence that the priest or deacon does not fulfill the requirements of the mandate and does not work to defend the interests of the local community, then his approval will be withdrawn.

At the same time, priests and deacons who have received approval to run will be suspended from serving for the entire period of the electoral campaign, will adopt during the electoral campaign a behavior appropriate to the ministry and priestly dignity, will respect the legislation in force regarding electoral campaigns and the election the authorities of the local public administration and will not use the places of worship for electoral purposes, the press release states.

BOR advice for those who vote

Furthermore, “The Holy Synod recalls its appeal to the leaders of the political parties in Romania not to allow the recruitment of members from the ranks of the clergy, nor the use for political purposes of persons, spaces, services and church signs.”, according to the Ruler.

On the other hand, BOR emphasizes that it is important for all citizens to choose according to “criteria aimed at achieving the good of the country and promoting Christian values ​​in society“.

During the Holy Synod of February 29, 2024, a list of ten guiding criteria was drawn up for the faithful who vote in this year's European, local, parliamentary and presidential elections:

  • manifestation of faith in God and responsibility towards the community
  • the defense of religious freedom and the support of the Church's spiritual and social activities;
  • respect for the human person and the promotion of the culture of life: the promotion of the traditional, natural family, consisting of a man and a woman, meant to conceive other lives; the implementation of policies against abortion, euthanasia, research on human embryos, cloning;
  • promoting an integral national education, which combines intellectual knowledge with moral and spiritual formation;
  • defending and promoting the physical, mental and moral/spiritual health of the Romanian people;
  • poverty reduction, economic development and demographic growth of Romania;
  • the defense and promotion of the national cultural and spiritual heritage;
  • the defense of natural resources, the protection of the environment and the development of agriculture, as bases of responsibility for present and future generations;
  • supporting Romanian communities around the borders and the Romanian diaspora, as well as promoting projects to encourage Romanians to return to Romania;
  • defending and promoting with dignity the interests of the Romanian people, externally and internally.

The cleric or monk who violates these prohibitions “he will have to choose between the political career and the clerical mission/monastic life”, and such deviations will be judged in the diocesan Consistories, according to the Regulation of the disciplinary canonical authorities and the courts of the BOR and the Regulation for the organization of monastic life and the administrative and disciplinary functioning of the monasteries, according to the decision of the Holy Synod.