Blaj was chosen as seat for the the Greek-Catholic bishopric of the Romanians from Transylvania, starting with the 18th century. The Church sponsored in this small town the famous Blaj Schools. They ignited the resurgence of the Romanian nation, the consciousness of its Latin origins. Blaj has, therefore, become renown as the Little Rome.
Promoted by hundreds of teachers, scholars, by monks and bishops – themselves sons of poor and oppressed Wallachian peasants -, the Blaj cultural and national movement later spread to other Romanian provinces. Blaj Schools considerably shaped the country of today.
How could we not acknowledge the precious services of the Greek-Catholic Church to all the Romanian people of Transylvania? She made a decisive contribution to their growth, symbolically represented by the “coryphaei” of the Transylvanian School of Blaj, but also by many figures—clergy and laity who also left an indelible mark on the ecclesial, cultural and social life of Romanians. A particularly outstanding merit of your Church is to have mediated between the East and the West by adopting the values promoted by the Holy See in Transylvania and by communicating to the entire Catholic world the values of the Christian East, which were not very accessible due to the existing divisions. The Greek-Catholic Church thus became an eloquent witness to the unity of the whole Church, showing how she embodies the values of the institutions, liturgical rites and ecclesiastical traditions which in different ways derive from the same apostolic tradition.
John Paul II, Apostolic Letter for the Third Centenary of Union of the Greek-Catholic Church of Romania with the Church of Rome.