Fr. Dr. Mihai Iordache reflects on Bucharest public space, 2017
Gold is the protagonist in artist Hans van Houwelingen’s most recent film. The second chapter in his series Best Bucharest engages notions of material or spiritual value and the significance of gold in conversation with a Romanian Orthodox priest. The Palace of People, in the Romanian capital Bucharest, is considered the second largest edifice in the word. Built as the siege of communist power by the former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1984, the building today exists within a controversial context between official appreciation and public resentment. Next to the Palace of People, now the Orthodox Church is building the Romanian People’s Salvation Cathedral, a gigantic cathedral, at the same scale as the palace; they will even have exactly the same height. Hans van Houwelingen questions whether this Symbol for the Romanian Church will also function as a Symbol for the Romanian people. Priest Mihai Iordache explains this transition – away from the humility and scale normally associated with Orthodox ritual –, in a conversation that returns to gold as a metaphor for the redeemed soul and as a medium for the expression of power.