Memorial service at the Orthodox church

Born on 7 June 1977, in Târgu Lăpuș (Maramureș county), Fr Buda embarked on a journey that left an indelible mark on the realms of academia, ecumenism, and spiritual leadership.

Fr Budas academic pursuits began as a seminarian at the Orthodox Theological Seminary in Baia Mare from 1991 to 1995, followed by studies at the Faculty of Theology Andrei Șaguna in Sibiu from 1996 to 2000. His intellectual curiosity and commitment to theological scholarship were further demonstrated through advanced studies at the same institution, culminating in the award of his Ph.D. in theology in 2004.

Fr Budas academic journey continued as he ascended through various roles at the Faculty of Theology, ultimately becoming a university professor in 2021. 

Beyond the academic sphere, Fr Budas influence extended globally. His roles as a research associate at the University of Pretoria and a Graduiertenschule für Gesisteswissenschaften in Göttingen exemplified his commitment to international collaboration. His service within the World Council of Churches (WCC), Geneva, showcased his prowess as a member of the permanent secretariat of the Commission on Faith and Order, and coordinator of the Department of Church Relations.

Fr Budas affiliations with numerous professional, academic, and ecumenical organizations worldwide highlighted his commitment to fostering dialogue and understanding. He played a pivotal role in editorial boards and contributed to academic journals, leaving an enduring legacy in the scholarly community.

As a priest, Fr Buda served both academically and spiritually. Ordained and honored with church orders and medals in 2020-2021, he also fulfilled the role of parish priest of Turnișor IV. Married and the father of two sons, Fr Buda exemplified the harmonious integration of academic excellence, spiritual devotion, and family values.

During his tenure as dean, Father Budas dedication to theological education was evident through his role as a reviewer for prestigious theology journals and his own prolific publications. His election as dean of the Faculty of Theology in 2020 underscored the esteem in which he was held by his peers.

In a letter to His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church, WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay expressed great sadness at the loss of Fr Buda. 

Having served in the WCC as executive secretary of the Faith and Order Commission and coordinator of Church and Ecumenical Relations, Fr Buda was respected and beloved within the ecumenical movement,” wrote Pillay. He remains in the prayerful memory not only of the many WCC colleagues with whom he worked, but also of many other Christians across the globe as an inspired spiritual ecumenical enthusiast who committed himself to a common and prophetic voice of Christians in todays world.”

Pillay noted Father Budas testimony, his witness for Orthodoxy, and his ecumenical legacy.

"More recently, as dean of the Orthodox Theological Faculty, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania, Fr Buda continued to inspire and educate younger generations of theologians with the same strong dedication and commitment,” wrote Pillay. Your brothers and sisters in Christ join you in thanking God for the life and witness of Fr Buda and his contribution to the church.”

Prof. Dr Vasile-Octavian Mihoc, WCC programme executive for Ecumenical Relations and Faith and Order, reflected that Fr Budas passing leaves an immeasurable void in the hearts of his family, the Faculty of Theology Andrei Șaguna, the Metropolis of Transylvania, and the global theological community. 

We mourn the loss of a distinguished colleague, a revered professor, and a spiritual leader whose legacy will endure through the countless lives he touched,” said Mihoc. May Father Daniel Buda rest in eternal peace, and may his memory continue to inspire generations to come.”

Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, who retired as director of the WCC's Commission on Faith and Order at the end of 2022, reflected on Father Budas contribution to visible unity. 

As a member of the WCC Faith and Order Secretariat, Father Daniel Buda was particularly instrumental in the Faith and Order study that invited the churches to engage together in matters of Christian responses to climate change and witness to the gospel in the context of religious diversity as a way of growing towards visible unity,” said Mateus.

WCC letter of condolences on the passing of Rev. Prof. Dr Daniel Buda