Home » Books published » Giuseppe Tateo, Sub semnul crucii. Catedrala Mântuirii Neamului şi construcţia de biserici în România postsocialistă. Iași: Polirom, 2024.

Giuseppe Tateo, Sub semnul crucii. Catedrala Mântuirii Neamului şi construcţia de biserici în România postsocialistă. Iași: Polirom, 2024.

Translation by Maria-Magdalena Anghelescu

Foreword by Simion Pop

Based on extensive ethnographic research, this book delves into the thriving industry of religious infrastructure in Romania, where 4,000 Orthodox churches and cathedrals have been built in three decades. Following the construction of the world’s highest Orthodox cathedral in Bucharest, the book brings together sociological and anthropological scholarship on eastern Christianity, secularization, urban change and nationalism. Reading postsocialism through the prism of religious change, the author argues that the emergence of political, entrepreneurial and intellectual figures after 1990 has happened ‘under the sign of the cross’. (From the webpage of Berghahn Books)

What people are saying about it:

“The result of careful and in-depth research, also enriched by interesting references to the history of the Romanian intellectual classes, the volume brings into dialogue theories and instruments of the international debate with local sources and research. The work also confirms the ethnographic validity of an observation centered on the material infrastructure and on the exploration of the social, economic and symbolic networks connected to it; it thus offers a polyphonic representation of the importance – also economic, monumental and ideological – that Orthodox Christianity assumes in the new public space, while speaking at the same time about the arrangements and orderings that allow religious actors to manipulate and construct it.” (Davide Carnevale, ANUAC. Rivista della società italiana di antropologia culturale) [original review in Italian]

“Drawing upon detailed ethnographical research, leavened with an impressive command of theoretical literature on the social life of architecture and urban special symbolism, the author examines the development of religious infrastructure in Romania, where four thousand Orthodox churches have been constructed over the three decades since the revolution. At the same time, Tateo’s book offers an analysis of secularization and urban change, and their impact upon the course of nationalism in the country.” (Dennis Deletant, Slavonic and East European Review)

“There is much to like in Tateo’s analysis. Throughout this book he uses stories and case studies to illuminate the broader relationships between the state and the Orthodox Church in Romania, at both national and local levels. He also demonstrates persuasively that to understand the role and importance of religion in a postsocialist context it is necessary to move beyond explanations grounded in religious revivalism, and consider the range of actors with diverse political and economic interests which intertwine to shape the religious landscape.“ (Duncan Light, Eurasian Geography and Economics

“Giuseppe Tateo’s book is an important contribution to the recent history of the Romanian Orthodox Church and its current crisis in a slowly secularizing Romania. […] Combining the sociology of religion, space theory, cultural anthropology, and church history, Tateo’s book serves as an important example of a transdisciplinary approach in the academic study of religions in Central-Eastern Europe.” (Csaba Szabó, Religion and Society in Central and Eastern Europe)

You can buy the book here.

About the author: 

Giuseppe Tateo is postdoctoral fellow at the Research Institute of the University of Bucharest and researcher at the Bruno Kessler Foundation (Trento, Italy). After earning his PhD from the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Halle), he taught at Charles University (Prague) and at Riga Stradins University, and he was a postdoctoral researcher in Bucharest, Prague and Leipzig. His current research interests focus on the link between political authority and religious architecture in post-socialist Europe with a specific focus on Romania.