I recently had the possibility to visit the Patriarchal Palace in Bucharest. Actually, this palace is the former Romanian Parliament. It is located on the Patriarchal Hill in Bucharest (20 meters away from the Patriarchal Cathedral) and it was the national parliament until the Romanian members of the parliament decided, some years ago, that the building, dating from 1907, is too small, so they chose one large enough for their taste: the actual Parliament Palace - former People's House, and second largest administration building in the world, only to the Pentagon. This move was something not even the Communist regime dared to do - during the dictatorship, the Parliament functioned in this very building.
The present situation of the Patriarchal Palace is not very clear. The palace is the property of the state, but the state decided that the palace should be administered by the Romanian Orthodox Church. Recently, a draft of a new law stated that the palace should become a full property of the Church, amongst other thirty-something objectives in the country.
Many say this is a sign of the omnipotence and greed of the Church inside of a society who knows no concept of real laity. As for me, I believe it is the reverse. I'm wondering why the Church should spend its money on palaces - instead of the state - when there are so many historical churches in the country who need urgent restoring and people who need help that the weak Romanian state cannot provide. And that, just because the state said so. But anyway.
The Palace is one the finest buildings in Bucharest. As soon as the Church became the administrator of the building, it was restored, and most of the halls are just splendid. Public events are regularly held in the Palace. The news agency and the TV station of the Romanian Patriarchy function here as well. My regret is that the palace is not opened for visits.
Some photos. Enjoy.