Ecumenical Patriarch blesses Romanian cathedral

Ecumenical Patriarch blesses Romanian cathedral
A woman touches the box containing the remains of Holy Hand of St. Andrew, in Bucharest, Romania, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, a day before the dedication of the national cathedral. The "Salvation of the People" cathedral, still unfinished, has cost, according to the church, 110 million euros ($125 million) and will be consacrated Sunday. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and the Romanian patriarch have blessed an Orthodox cathedral consecrated to mark 100 years since modern-day Romania was created in the aftermath of World War I.

Tens of thousands stood outside the “Salvation of the People” cathedral for Sunday’s service led by Patriarch Daniel and the Istanbul-based patriarch Bartholomew I.

The 120-meter (394-feet) high cathedral towers over a giant palace nearby built by late Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu.

The church says the unfinished building has cost 110 million euros ( million). Critics say the money would have been better spent on churches and hospitals. The state pays priests’ salaries and other costs.

Some 86 percent of Romanians are Orthodox believers. The cathedral aims to “honor Romanian heroes of all times.”