Special Memorial commemorating
Bishop POLICARP Moruşca
First Bishop of the Romanian Orthodox faithful in America

A DAY OF QUIET DIGNITY and REMEMBRANCE was observed in our parish Sunday, the feast of the Great Martyr Demetrios. While it is our parish tradition to offer a Parastas annually for each deceased hierarch of the Cathedral, near the date of their falling asleep, Sunday marked a special anniversary. The Church gathered in memory of His Grace Bishop Policarp (Moruşca), first hierarch of our Episcopate, who fell asleep in the Lord 50 years ago to the day. He rests in Romania at Alba Iulia.

First, Deanery Clergy and others from the area gathered in our church, which was raised to the status of Diocesan Cathedral when Bishop Policarp was enthroned in it on July 4, 1935. Concelebrating this 50th Anniversary Memorial were:
Cathedral Dean, Archpriest Laurence Lazar, who provided a brief historical perspective on Bishop Policarp and thanked those present for gathering in respect for our First Archpastor, Archpriests Romey Rosco (Sts Peter & Paul, Dearborn Heights), Roman Star (St Innocent, Redford; President of the local Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood), Dimitrie Vincent (St Thomas, Farmington Hills), Leonte Copacia (St Raphael, Detroit), Priests Calin Barbolovici (Holy Trinity, Troy), Constantin Enache (St George Cathedral, Southfield), Horatiu Balanean (Sts Peter & Paul, Dearborn Heights), Deacon Sabin Pop (St George Cathedral, Southfield). Leading the responses and assisting the clergy were Subdeacons John E Lazar, Robert Mitchell and Tom Rosco, and Alexandru Radulescu.

After the Parastas, clergy and faithful moved to the Cathedral Cultural Center to break bread over coffee and to share in the coliva. As they did so, the film “In Memoriam: Bishop Policarp Morusca” (produced for Romanian television) was shown. The special afternoon concluded with Fr Lazar offering comments on the personality of His Grace and his place in the history of the Episcopate.

We thank those who assisted:
Ana-Camelia Vasilescu, who prepared the Coliva, Ielita Daba, Cezarina Hritcu and the good ladies who served.


From the Dean’s remarks at the 50th Anniversary Parastas
in memory of Bishop Policarp ~

At the beginning of the 20th century parishes of Romanian Orthodox were, as today, scattered thousands of miles apart across the United States and Canada. In 1929 the people voted to establish a diocese. On January 26, 1935 the Abbot of historic Hodoş-Bodrog Monastery near Arad, Archimandrite Policarp (Moruşca), was elected by the Holy Synod. He was consecrated in the Patriarchal Chapel of St George in Bucharest on March 24 as the diocese’ first bishop, and sent here to gather the flock and establish order. He said, “I accept you as you are. But from now on, order.” Enthroned in Detroit’s St George church, as directed by the Patriarchate, it became the Cathedral of Romanian Orthodox in North America.

A residence was sought and the bishop liked the old farm on Grey Tower Road in Grass Lake. It was away from the noise of the city, a good place for a monastery, for prayer. Thus, Vatra Românească came to be. He worked to organize the ladies and the youth. He established “Solia” for communication. He visited his flock and began life as our Father-in-Christ.

In 1939 he left for a Holy Synod meeting and to seek funds for his diocese. Sadly, the war and communist pressure on the Church unjustly prevented him from ever returning to his flock. He was marginalized, put in forced retirement, while always considering himself Bishop of this diocese. He became a
“Confessor of the Faith”, accepting his fate without losing his faith. On St Demetrios day, October 26, 1958 he fell asleep in the Lord and was buried at Alba Iulia, not at his Vatra as he had wanted.

Archbishop Nathaniel will be known as a
Missionary, for establishing (many) new missions, and Archbishop Valerian as the Builder, but before them was Policarp, the Founder.

I greet you as the son of the last priest Bishop Policarp ordained before leaving us. I welcome you to his Cathedral, 125 years since his birth, and 50 years to the day since his falling asleep in the Lord. I thank you for offering this moment of respect for him. Pray for his soul, as he continues to pray for us; and may his memory be eternal.

Veşnica lui pomenire!


Dn Sabin sings "Among the Saints" with faithful
Fr Laurence gives an historical background
Participants lift the symbolic colaci

A portrait of Bishop Policarp at his throne
Clergy who took part in the service
The throne is a symbol of this confessor of our Faith

A view of those who participated
Ana-Camelia Vasilescu prepared the coliva
A single candle at the throne in his memory
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