Romanian Greek Catholic Church
The Romanian Greek Catholic Church originated with the synod convened by the Metropolitan Atanasius Anghel d’Alba Julia, in 1698, to discuss the recognition of papal authority. The act of union was signed by all parties at the synod.
250 years later, on 1 December 1948, the Greek Catholic Church was made illegal by the communist government, with the tacit approval of the Romanian orthodox church. The bishops, many priests, monks, and followers were executed or imprisoned.
In December 1989, communism collapsed in Romania and the Romanian Greek Catholic Church emerged from the catacombs following 41 years underground. It had great difficulty recovering its assets. By 2007, it had only recovered 152 of the 2,000 churches confiscated in 1948.
On 16 December 2005, Benedict XVI elevated the Metropolitan Romanian Greek Catholic Church to the rank of Major Archeparchy of Fagaraș and Alba Iulia of Romanians.
On 16 December 2005, Benedict XVI elevated the Romanian Greek Catholic Church to the rank of Major Archeparchy and H.B. Lucian Muresan to the dignity of Major Archbishop of Alba Julia and Fagaras of Romanians. He was made Cardinal in February 2012.
The church has approximately 700,000 faithful (in Romania and diaspora).