April 2020. Romania, Piatra Craiului National Park. The National Park with a fairytale name - in Romanian language "Piatra Craiului" translates as "the Rock of the Prince" - does justice to its name not only by the breath-taking landscape but also by its rich biodiversity. A recent video (available at this link) published by the Administration of the National Park brings us images of a beautiful pack of wolves, animals who have been inhabiting these lands from times immemorial as ancient local legends suggest.
The wolf has always been part of local culture in Romania. The populations living in Romania before Christ and prior to the Roman conquest had a strong cult for the wolf. The main war flag had a wolf head linked to a snake body. Later on, St. Andrew is considered Jesus’ disciple who brought the Christian faith to the Romania. He also had a strong connection to wolves, as he was considered their protector.
A Romanian legend and biblical reinterpretation adapted to local culture says that Saint Peter worked alongside Saint Andrew as a shepherd. As they each heard about Jesus' miracles, they both left their traditional activities to become his disciples. The sheep were left in the care of their dogs, which driven by hunger, began to eat the sheep one by one. As time passed, other shepherds began looking after the remaining flock and chased the dogs away.
Saint Peter’s and Saint Andrew’s dogs continued to attack sheep, eating and killing as many as they could, until the new shepherds protected them with their own dogs. The dogs of Saint Peter became wild and grew into what we know today as wolves. After Saint Peter died, he would remember his dogs in a time of need and send them manna from Heaven. Each year, on the night of November 30th (Saint Andrew’s hiliday in Romania), Saint Andrew also calls wolves to bless them for their unchanging behaviour. On this day, wolves are blessed and allowed to hunt prey. (Mirea, Legende, 60. Piscu-Galati).
The legend is about protecting and appreciating wolves and their role in the ecosystem. Piatra Craiului National Park’s Administration has the same aspiration: "It’s our objective to see this species thrive and maintain the balance of the park’s vital ecosystems."