Cremation in Romania

A list of the famous cremated Romanians can be found here: (2127 until 27th of October 2014)

This list is made and periodically upgradated by Marius Rotar, the director of this research project.

Cremation in Romania:

Number of crematoria (2012): 2 (Vitan Barzesti Crematorium in Bucharest, Phoenix Crematorium in Oradea – just incinerator)

Number of cremations, based on the Pharos. The Official Journal of CSGB and IFC:

2010 – 853 cremations

2011 – 840 cremations

Cremation is legal in Romania (Criminal Code, Civil Code) having an equal legal status with burial.

Romanian Orthodox Church rejects any religious service in the cremation cases (based on the decisions of the Holy Synod of Romanian Orthodox Church 1928, 1933, 2012)

Number of crematoria (2014): 3 (Vitan Barzesti Crematorium in Bucharest, Phoenix Crematorium in Oradea – just incinerator, Ignis Crematorium, Badeni, Cluj County)

Number of cremations:

2012: 859 cremations (Vitan Barzesti Crematorium in Bucharest)

2013: 839 cremations (Vitan Barzesti Crematorium in Bucharest)

Phoenix Crematorium in Oradea: 2012-2014: about 450 cremations

Ignis Crematorium in Badeni, Cluj County 2014: 23 cremations (2nd of September-17th of December)


Report on the implementation of the project from November 2011 to October 2014

The relevance of the research theme

By the time when we started up the grant “Historical Dimensions and Perspectives on Cremation in Contemporary Romania”, CNCS-UEFISCDI, PN II, TE, 54 / .05.11.2011 topic of cremation was little known to the scientific community in Romania, as more especially  for the public opinion in our country. Previouse researchings conducted under the banner of various branches of sciences were almost nonexistent in Romania, despite of the fact that the topic of cremation was analyzed in terms of history, sociology, theology or psychology (including the authors as Peter C. Jupp, Hilary Grainger, Douglas J. Davies, Lewis Mates, Brian Parsons, Stephan White (UK), Robert Nicol (Australia), Stephan Prothero (USA), Paul Pasteur (France), Marina Sozzi, Marco Novarina (Italy), Simone Ameskamp (Germany) etc.). The public information on the topic in Romania were reduced due to the poor development of cremation in our country (for example in 2011 there was only one crematorium in Romania- Vitan Barzesti – Cenusa Crematorium  being closed for  pollution reasons ” in 2002, but yet functional through its columbaria – in that year there had been 853 cremation at Vitan Barzesti, given that the cremation rate in Europe in 2009 was 36%).

2012 and 2013 led to a radical change of the cremation issues in Romania due to two fundamental and interconnected reasons :

  1. The opening of new crematoria due to the initiatives of private companies (2012-2013) (Oradea in 2012, Badeni / Cluj Napoca 2014));
  2. The Sergiu Nicolaescu’s case (in early 2013)

In the first case, these projects have appeared in Transylvania, in Oradea and Cluj Napoca, in both cases recorded opposition due essentially Romanian Orthodox Church’s attitude towards cremation. Thus, there have been various positions taken up by some Orthodox hierarchs (especially Andrei Andreicut, archbishop of Cluj) or anti-cremation meetings (2012-2013 to Oşorhei near Oradea and Cluj Napoca). There were invoked the subjective reason of the teachings of the Romanian Orthodox Church on cremation or the pollution by crematoria or non-compliance of legal provisions by placing incinerators.

This context explained the decision from 5th of July 2012 adopted by the Romanian Orthodox Church Synod to reconfirm anti cremation decisions from 1928 and 1933: prohibition of any religious service for an Orthodox Christian  choosing cremation; the defrocking of the priests belonging to this denomination would commit such a service;  the urge  of all Orthodox priests to catechize and thus convince people upon the sin of cremation; economic arguments in favor  of cremation rejection. This decision came as a counterbalance of the Synod  regarding the actions  for  cremationdevelopment, especially in Transylvania. Furthermore, in July 2012 at Oradea a private company opened its first human incinerator (but not really a crematorium) of this part of the country. However, the 2012 Synond decision is a step forward because it leaves a door open for committing religious services with incineration in special situations.

However, the debate for and against cremation in Romania, which is not much current in Western Europe, is active  our country (for instance see the actions of the Amurg,  the Romanian Cremation Association – pro cremation structurein Romania, on the one hand, and different environments inspired by  Romanian  Orthodox Church  categorically rejecting thecremation , on the other hand.

Onset of 2013 led further topics in the Romaniancremation issues, leading with the desire to be cremated of Sergiu Nicoalescu (a famous Romanian film director). In fact, one can consider that Nicoalescu’s case can be compared only with polemics around the opening of Cenusa Crematorium (25 January 1928)  in the the interwar period. But the Nicolaescu’s has not led to an increase of the cremation in Romania, which demonstrates that public opinion has not sympathized with the  cremation cause but rather the idea of respecting the last will of a person (for example in 2012 there were 859  cremations  at Vitan Barzesti crematorium , decreasing to 839 in 2013).

It should also be noted that in Romania cremation has equal status of legally with burial since the interwar period, and the New Civil Code (2011) provides for the right  of  the individualities to choose their method of disposal of the body (burial or incineration). The law 102 from 2014 reconfirms the legality  of  cremation incineration and, moreover, regulates private cemeteries and civil burial.

Therefore, the grant CNCS-UEFISCDI, TE, 54 / 04.10.2011: “Historical and Contemporary Perspectives Dimensions upon Cremation in Romania” has fully demonstrated its relevance in scientific and public space in Romania.

  1. Researchings

Over the period November 2011 – October 2014 were investigated multiple sources on the history of modern cremation in Romania:

Historical Sources

  1. The archival material on the Cenusa, Romanian Cremation Society from the interwar period, found in Archives Administration in Bucharest Cemeteries and Human Crematory -ACCU) original material non-archived and of scientifically untapped so far;
  2. Press (magazine collection interwar Romania “Sacred Flame” (1934-1942), the daily press and specialized in 19th to 20th century (Age, Gazeta Transylvania, Romania Libera, Univerusul , Dimineata, Curentul. Cuvantul, Scanteia, Libertatea, Evenimentul Zilei, etc.) – found in Romanian Academy Library in Bucharest and especially Central Library of Cluj;
  3. medical literature (especially relating to the period before the outbreak of the First World War, works of CI Istrati,Iacob Felix, Economu Athanasius, Nicolae Minovici, Constantin Marinescu, Mina Minovici, Simion Stoica, George Vuia etc. ).
  4. the literature (writings of Tudor Arghezi, Eugen Lovinescu, Garabet Ibrăileanu, Anton Holban Michael Beniuc, Victor Papillian, H. Bonciu etc.)
  5. religious literature (journals as Cuvantul Bun Good Word, Romanian Orthodox Church, Theological Review, Theological Studies, Glasul Monahilor, Renasterea. Telegraful Roman,etc., as well as works by various Catholic or Orthodox theologians such as Ion Popescu Mihailesti, Haralambie Rovenţa, Iuliu Scribanm Vladimir Prelipceanu, Nicolae Neaga, Marian C. Ionescu etc.).
  6. visits to the Cenusa crematorium and Vitan Barzesti crematorium in Bucharest (2011, 2012, 2013) and the first crematorium in Transylvania (Ignis, Badeni, Cluj Napoca).


– Documentary visits were made to the Crematorium in Odessa, Ukraine (the more relevant as Ukraine is a country where most of the population is Orthodox religion and where the upper bodies of the denominations are more lenient on people for incineration option, in addition literature specialized and International Cremation Federation official statistics do not include any information about the size cremaţiunii in this country, where currently operates four human crematoria); crematoria in Miskolc and Szeged, Hungary (; Pere Lachaise crematorium, Paris, France (opened in the late nineteenth century – first opened in France and significant in terms of what would be, architecturally speaking, a “classic” crematorium), Milton Keynes, UK (currently in the UK operates about 265 crematoria, incineration rate is almost 80%; crematorium Milton Keynes crematorium is relevant  from the architectural point of view);  Belgrad crematorium in Serbia (opened in 1964); incinerators do Rome, Naples and Palermo crematoria in Italy (relevant because it shows differences in rates between different parts of the samecountry): crematorium in Vienna, Austria (opened in 1923).

The efforts to identify public figures from Romania who were incinerated in the last three centuries has been a fundamental research direction. Drawing up a list of them is essential because it shows to what extent Romanian elites joined or not the idea cremaţiunii (it is estimated that the actual number of it would be around 2500, which would represent a percentage of 3% of the total incineration of Romania – 70,000 between 1928 and 2014).This list is available both and the

Due to the Nicolaescu case this list  became public, being taken over by the media, revealing once again the significance of  this research.

Also on the website of Amurg, the Romanian Cremation Association ( were inserted some examples of failure by Orthodox priests regarding the decision Synod on incineration (1928, 1933 and 2013)

  1. Dissemination results (selection)
  1. Publications

Dissemination of research results through publication was a constant activity in this research project.

Books published:

Marius Rotar, Eternitate prin Cenusa. O istorie a incinerarii si crematoriilor umane in Romania secolelor XIX-XXI, Iasi, European Institute, 2011, 636 pp.

Marius Rotar, History of Modern Cremation in Romania, Cambridge Scholars Publishing,

Newcastle upon Tyne, 2013. 480 pp. – Http://

According with book  can be found in about 49 academic libraries in the world.

Calinic I. Popp Şerboianu, Cremaţiunea si Religia Crestina, edited by Marius Rotar, Iasi, European Institute, 2012, 240 pp. – Http://

Dying and Death in 18th-21st century Europe, Marius Rotar, Corina Rotar, Adriana Teodorescu (eds.) special issues of Annales Universitatis Apulenisis. Series Historica (CEEOL indexed journal, quotation B NURC), 511 pp. -http: // IssueID = 4d09dc24-1033-4420-8e67-dc852bdf2911 & tabid = 0

Dying and Death in 18th-21st Century Europe, vol. 2, edited by Marius Rotar, Adriana, Teodorescu, Corina Rotar, Newcastle upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014, 476 p. Http:// / sample / 58593

A selection of the most important papers presented at the  ABDD conference between 2010 and 2013. The two volumes published in the UK have “entered” in about 122 academic libraries around the world as

Articles published in various journals (ISI indexed BDI or quote CNCS)

Marius Rotar, Ioana Todor, An Investigation About the Attitudes Towards Death and Cremation in Contemporary Romania, Social and Behavioral Sciences proceeded, 82, 2013, pp.192-197 (ISSN: 1877-0428 indexed on the Science Direct, Scopus and Thomson Reuters Conference Proceedings Citation Index (Web of Science).

Marius Rotar, Death Inspector or the professional of the late Nineteenth and Death During early

Twentieth Century Transylvania, Mortality, 17, 3, 2012, pp. 240-255 – Mortality indexed in AIDS Abstracts, Applied Social Sciences Index & Abstracts (ASSI), British Humanities Index (BHI), CINAHL: Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature, CommunityWISE, Contenta Religionum, Educational Research Abstracts online (ERA), Family Studies Database, Gay and Lesbian Abstracts (Sexual Diversity Studies), National Information Services Corporation (NISC), Linguistics and Language Behaviour Abstracts, Progress in Palliative Care, PsycINFO, Scopus; Social Planning / Policy & Development Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts and Studies on Women and Gender Abstracts)

Marius Rotar, Adriana Teodorescu, Cremation in Romania: Stereotypes and Communist

Perceptions, Journal of Political Science, 35, 2012, pp.54-68 Index Copernicus, Scopus, quote CNCS B

Marius Rotar, On Cremation of Romania Nowadays, Philobiblion, XVII, 2, 2012 & Itemid = 88 & lang = en indexed BDI Scopus, quote CNCS B

Adriana Teodorescu, Symbolic Immortality through nature. The Deconstruction of the Myth – A Perspective thanatological, Philobiblion, XVII, 2, 2012 BDI indexed Scopus, quote CNCS B

Adriana Teodorescu, Two literary representations of death ritualization, Iassyensia Comparationis Acta, 10, 212, pp. 70-77 BDI indexed fabulous quote CNCS B

Marius Rotar, Financial aspects of cremation in interwar Romania, Annales Univeristatis Apulensis. Series Historica, 17, 1, 2013, pp. 168-186 (B CNCS journals indexed BDI)

Marius Rotar, Romanian Physicians and the Issues of Cremation: the Case of Minovici Brothers, Philobiblion. Transylvanian Journal of Multidisciplinary Research in Humanities, 19, 1, 2014 (CNCS B – EBSCO)

Adriana Teodorescu, Investigating the Imaginary: Prerequisites for the bioethical Construction of Cremation, Philobiblion. Transylvanian Journal of Multidisciplinary Research in Humanities, 19, 1, 2014 (CNCS B EBSCO)

  1. Organization and participation at the scientific meetings

Grant members attended both  at the conferences abroad, as well as at scientific events organized in Romania.

Among the most important scientific events where project members took part include the 11th edition of the lecture Death and the Disposal of the Body (DDD11): When the Theory meets practice – the most important conference in the field of studies organized death in Europe (the Open University, Milton Keynes, UK, 6 to 9 September 2013)

Under the tutelage of this project was organized editions of the fifth, sixth and seventh International Conference Dying and Death in 18th-21st Century Europe, 5-7 September 2012, 26 to 28 September 2013,  4 to 6 September 2014. The mentioned three editions of the conference was recorded participation of over 190 researchers in 24 countries on three continents (most researchers were foreigners). The conference was organized and supported by Alba County Council, the National Union a Muzeului of Alba Iulia, University “1 December 1918” Alba Iulia, and Twilight, the Romanian Cremation Association. Local and national media gave wide spaces of this event, considered one of the most internationalized scientific Romanian space,  in the humanities. The conference was organized a special section devoted to the topic of human crematoria and cremation where following communications were presented:


Peter C. Jupp (University of Bristol, UK), ‘Capital Crematoria for Scotland (1909-1939) Part 1: Providing alternatives to burial in the City of Edinburgh’

Hilary Grainger (London College of Fashion, UK), Capital Crematoria for Scotland (1909-1939) Part 2: The Story of Edinburgh Architectural

Marius Rotar (Romania), Corina Rotar (Romania), The Cremation War- Oradea, Cluj Napoca, Romania 2011/2012

Adriana Teororescu (Romania) Upon the Imaginary of Cremation in Romania. A Case Study: Why Would I choose Cremation? Essay Contest

2013 (

Peter C. Jupp (University of Bristol, UK), The forty year achievement: Scotland’s Cremation Society and Maryhill Crematorium

Marius Rotar (Romania), Corina Rotar (Romania), Crossing the Lines: Calinic I. Popp Serboianu and the Issues of Cremation in Interware Romania

Hilary J. Grainger (London College of Fashion, UK), James Chalmers ‘A Scheme of Cremation for Scotland’: Glasgow Maryhill

Aleksandra Pavicevic (Serbia) Why Was the Writer cremated? Thanatological Aspects of death and funeral of Yugoslav literate Ivo Andrić

Ana Soviany (Romania), The death of Nicolaescu: searching for the scapegoat


Asher Colombo (Italy), The fall and the rise of cremation in Europe: 1876-1939

Robert Martin (Canada), The Birth of Cremation in Quebec (1874-1901)

Marius Rotar (Romania), The Romanian Orthodox Priests and the Issues of Cremation: vehemence and Inconsistency

Peter C. Jupp (UK), ‘From public scandal to social acceptance: Scotland’s First Publicly-owned Crematorium: Kaimhill 1938-1975’

Hilary J. Grainger (UK), ‘Aberdeen Crematorium 1975 Hazelhead, the final modernist’

Tamara Ingels and Patrick Van den Nieuwenhof (Belgium), The making of: Cemetery Inventories from the Flemish point of view

Adina Iuliana Apostol (Romania), “ashes” of the Romanian People Crematorium -Resurrection from the Ashes of the Revolution- Memorial Museum Proposal, Bucharest, Romania

Enrico Cazzaniga (Italy), Cremation and privatization of ashes: psycho-relational effects

Other participation at the international and national conferences:


Marius Rotar, Ioana Todor, An Investigation About The Attitudes Towards Death And. Cremation In Contemporary Romania, World Conference on Sociology and Psychology, Antalya, Turkey, November 27-December 1, 2012, conference ISI

Marius Rotar, Adriana Teodorescu, Cremation in Romania: Stereotypes and Communist, Perceptions, After Communism. East and West under Scrutiny, University of Craiova International Conference 2-3 March 2012…-a0293544858

Marius Rotar, Corina Rotar, Victor Tudor Rosu, Aspects of the history of modern cremation in Romania, lecture at the State University of Moldova, Faculty of History and Philosophy, June 29, 2012, Chisinau, Republic of Moldova

Marius Rotar, Financial aspects of cremation in interwar Romania, national conference “10 years of historical anthropology in Cluj Napoca”, June 8, 2012, Department of History and Philology, Babes Bolyai University, Cluj Napoca.


Marius Rotar, Cremation in Romania, National Christian Conference in the face of suffering and death “and” Church in hospital (Deacon Taumaturgul) “organized by the Faculty of Theology, Babes Boylai Cluj, Bistrita County Hospital , Bistrita, 13 to 14 May 2013.

Also in 2013 immediately after the Nicolaescu’s case  (31 January 2013), two of the members grant (Marius Rotar and Dumitru Vanca) organized the first debate on cremation  hosted by a Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Romania (

It recognized the scientific work of the project manager of this grant (Marius Rotar), Cambridge Scholars Publishing has launched a series of papers on the topic of Dying and Death Studies. This series will debut in February 2015 being coordinated by Marius Rotar (

Also, the project director, dr. Marius Rotar habilitation thesis argued in the History and Cultural Studies in January 2014 at the Faculty of History and Philosophy, Babes Boylai in Cluj with a work entitled Modern Cremation in Romania, most of the elements present in this thesis are direct results of the present grant.

Other developpments:

The project was developed by contributing assoc. Prof. dr. Corina Rotar, IT expert, member of the research team and project implementation, its website This site includes information about the present project (including dissemination of results) and a number of other elements on cremation in Romania and abroad. The site is intended as an information base and a network of researchers interested in the death of Romania and thanatology studies that continue after the end of this grant in October of 2014.

Nicolaescu’s case brought to public eye of Romania the  topic of cremation. Interest in the field has made a series of research done through this grant to be mentioned in the Romanian media (in particular was mentioned list that I compiled it, after five years of investigation,  on the Romanians famous were cremated along time – the relevance of that list was that demonstrates that the total incineration to Romania under 4% of them were made in the case of public figures). I was also asked several times, as an expert, the expression of views on the cremation ( , ( ).

In 2014  with the direct contribution of the project director, dr. Marius Rotar, it was held at the crematorium Vitan Barzesti,  Open Day event organized premiere in Romania, which marked the 20th anniversary of the inauguration of this institution. The event was held under the title ” Day of Free Choice ” –

Following the decision of the Board of Directors of the Association for the Study of Death and Society it was established that the twelve edition Death and the Disposal of the Body conference (DDD12) to be hosted by the University “1 December 1918” Alba Iulia from 2 to 6 September 2015. This is the most important conference  on death organized in Europe over death, which will be hosted for the first time, by a country in South Eastern Europe. The conference involves the participation of over 150 researchers from all continents, Call for Papers and all the necessary information in this regard has already posted the project site present: