PAULA BULGARU NUN TRIAL

THE NEWSPAPER “MONITORUL DE IASI” dated 20 October 2001

THE METROPOLITAN PRIEST THINKS THAT THE JUDGES MADE A BIG MISTAKE

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Iasi took it as an offence and decided to take action about everything that happened. In their turn, the lawyers and the prosecutors turned inside out the behaviour of Paula Bulgaru. And all this mobilization because of a 21-year-old young girl who dared say out loud her thoughts in the church precisely during the religious mass of Saint Parascheva. Perhaps if the policemen or the prosecutors had decided only to fine her, Paula Bulgaru would have been considered an anonymous who liked scandal and who would have been forgotten by the end of that very day. The investigators’ zeal was quite obvious. The scandal was amplified and “the snowball” turned into “an avalanche” that grabbed on its way the Metropolitan priest Daniel and the Bishop Casian.

The juridical counsellor of the Metropolitan Cathedral criticized the judges

The position of the Metropolitan Cathedral against the judges’ decision to subpoena the Metropolitan priest Daniel and the Bishop Casian as witnesses is firm: the latter shall not appear in front of the judges. The following press release was sent to our newspaper at midnight: “The above hierarchs are not involved in this lawsuit because the offence committed by the false nun Paula Bulgaru is not assault to authority but assault to good vices and the disturbance of the public order. In the flagrant procedure, the instance did not have the right to decide the admission of the evidence with the witnesses mentioned above, especially that the latter were supposed to be the witnesses for the defence of the defendant, which is against the criminal procedure norms and against the purpose pursued by the criminal lawsuit”. Continuing on the same tone, Constantin Grigore, the juridical counsellor of the Metropolitan Cathedral criticized the judges considering that the instance made “a big mistake by not having studied enough the provisions of Article 321, Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code regarding the flagrant in the crime of assault at good vices and the disturbance of the public order”. The answer of the Metropolitan Cathedral, that largely embraces the prosecutors’ action, also includes that “taking into account that the procedure of the lawsuit in this case is an urgent one and the judgement is made with celerity, the procedural norms do not allow additional hearings of witnesses”. In other words, the representatives of the church shall not come in front of the instance “in order to explain”, as lawyer Mariana Bazdara hoped. “We subpoenaed these persons of high rank among people but equal before God like any ordinary mortal to come and establish correctly the factual situation in order to see if what the young girl did had an aspect of swears and slanders, just as the prosecutors assert”, Mariana Bazdara said. And then she added “Personally I hoped that they would come and tell the judges that they, as representatives of the church, forgave her for what she had said, especially that the girl explained that she had forgiven the ones who sent her to the arrest”.

Pros and cons in the case of Paula Bulgaru

Lawyer Alfred Tapliuc mentioned that he was against the subpoenaing of the high clergymen. “From a moral point of view, the Metropolitan priest Daniel should not have been subpoenaed. What happened is not normal. What should he do in front of the instance? Should he answer the questions? Is that his role? From my point of view, he should have refused”, Alfred Tapliuc declared.

While making reference to the scandal caused by the young girl, the lawyer mentioned that it would have been very elegant for Paula Bulgaru to receive only a contravention fine. “A church is a recollection place and one has the obligation to respect the others. Any disturbance is annoying. The girl had to be punished for what she did but she should not have been arrested“, Alfred Tapliuc added. “The lawsuit was allowed by God so that the others could discover that precisely the ones who speak in the name of the Christianity are not at all faithful”, an anonymous lawyer made a comment. Carmen Bernic, another representative of the lawyers, would have preferred an equilibrium in everything that had occurred. “The celebration of Saint Parascheva was an occasion of moral purification and spiritual ascension that should not have been disturbed. If that girl told the truth, she should have found another framework where to express her convictions, so as not to compromise the celebration. A real nun would not have reacted like that. If I have to make reference to the prosecutors, I see the custody measure as slightly exaggerated”, Carmen Bernic commented. On the other hand, the lawyer cannot conceive that the Metropolitan priest should appear as a witness in front of the instance. “The Metropolitan priest is a religious symbol that cannot be involved in trivial matters of the daily life. For millions of believers, he represents the Chosen one, a symbol that must not be involved in such situations, even with criminal aspects”, Carmen Bernic showed her point of view.

Let us see how the lawsuit of Paula Bulgaru will be carried out. The emergency procedure supposed that the arrest, the judgement and the conviction had to occur in maximum 10 days since the deed was committed. Namely on Thursday 25th October, the day of the following trial term, everything has to be complete regardless of the presence or the absence of the holy clergymen in front of the instance. Although the lawyers required a shorter trial term in order to subpoena twice both the Metropolitan priest and the bishop, the judges managed to please both parties. On one hand, they approved the lawyers’ request to subpoena the Metropolitan priest and the bishop. The lawyer explained “On the other hand, knowing that the trial time was expiring on 25 October, they set that day as a trial term. Thus, they offered the high clergymen the possibility to refuse the subpoena without being threatened by any criminal consequence”. In other cases, an unattended subpoena results successively in a fine and then in a warrant, when the witnesses are brought by the police in front of the instance in case they refuse to come by themselves.

PHOTO: Lawyer Gianina Geantau: “We are subpoenaing as witnesses the Metropolitan priest Daniel and the Bishop Casian”.