When there is trouble, the church will help wherever it can: Teodosie, the Orthodox bishop of Tomis in the Romanian seaside town of Constanța, recently performed a COVID-19 cleansing ceremony in the village of Cogeleac, together with a cohort of fellow priests.
Local news portal Replica reports that Teodosie and the others performed the ceremony with the help of a minivan crammed with loudspeakers and that the procession was joined by several dozen locals. Police were also present, but they did not join the event.
Besides house blessings at the beginning of the year, priests of the Romanian Orthodox Church regularly perform blessings — for a fee — of luxury items such as cars and will even do exorcisms. In this case, the ceremony was ordered by local Mayor Gheorghe Alexa.
His Holiness Teodosie performed a similar ceremony in Constanța back in June, crossing the city on a platform truck loaded with the effigies of two saints with purported healing powers.
Also a professor of theology and holder of Romania’s highest civilian award, the Knight of the Order of the Star of Romania, Teodosie has been a vocal critic of the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, at one point even accusing President Klaus Iohannis of having had cursed the country.
He also made it into the news shortly after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic when media found out he had distributed communion to churchgoers with the same spoon, without even cleaning it between users. At the time, he flippantly replied in a written statement that the church only uses sacred objects, not throwaway items and that nobody has ever been infected by a spoon.
On account of his triple job as bishop, rector at a local theology university, and head of a doctoral school, Teodosie is the country’s highest-paid clergyman, higher than even Patriarch Daniel, the head of the church, and President Klaus Iohannis. Last year, Teodosie earned a combined RON 292,148 (EUR 60,000), but as a high-ranking clergyman, he is exempt from submitting a tax report.