By Andrew Ehrkamp
News Editor

Keeping the Church relevant to second-generation Romanian immigrants is the top challenge facing the first bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Canada.

“It’s kind of an intensive class for the Church to adapt to contemporary society,” said Vicar Bishop Ioan Casian of Vicina, whose weeklong visit to Alberta included a tour of Newman Theological College on May 19.

“For us, there is also the challenge of language. The second generation loses the communication in the familiar language of their parents and is also spending a lot of time in school and outside the family.”

Bishop Ioan is on a tour of the five Romanian Orthodox parishes and missions in Alberta.

The Romanian Orthodox Church established a diocese for Canada last year, and Bishop Ioan was installed as its first bishop last week.

His Edmonton visit includes celebrating the Divine Liturgy at Saints Constantine and Helen Parish in north Edmonton on May 21.

Bishop Ioan said he wanted to visit Newman Theological College because of his personal connection to the Roman Catholic Church. He studied at Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm, a Benedictine university in Rome, and he has a particular affinity for 19th-century Cardinal John Henry Newman.

Bishop Ioan said he was “impressed by his books, his clarity of mind and thought.”

The Romanian Orthodox Church also has a deep connection to Alberta that dates back to early 1900. 

Bishop Ioan celebrated the Divine Liturgy on May 14 at St. Mary’s Parish, which was established in 1905, in Boian, near Willingdon, about 125 km northwest of Edmonton. 

The Romanian Orthodox Church has between 200,000 and 240,000 members in 28 parishes across Canada. The biggest parishes are in Toronto and Montreal, where Bishop Ioan is based.

Bishop Ioan returns to Montreal on May 22.