The allegation by the Securitate - the Communist secret police - that the Patriarch Teoctist was a homosexual was leaked Thursday in the daily Libertatea, stirring the outcry. The Orthodox Church has vehemently opposed homosexuality in recent years.
The leak comes at a time of tension, as the leftist administration criticizes the opening of the files, which was approved by the previous, pro-European parliament. Although the Securitate reportedly had a network of 700,000 informers, no other major figures have been exposed so far.
Part of the file - omitting the homosexuality reference - was published in January by the daily Evenimentul Zilei, the only newspaper to fight for disclosure of Securitate files.
The Securitate document - written in August 1949 - also alleged that Teoctist, then a monk in the Orthodox Church, was a member of a pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic group and took part in a 1941 rampage on a synagogue in Bucharest.
The Orthodox Church said the file contained libelous information.
Dan Ciachir, an expert on the Orthodox church, said many Orthodox clerics in the 1940s, including the patriarch, were part of the group.
The file was given to the daily Libertatea by a researcher at the council that is responsible for releasing information from the 125 million Securitate files. The council distanced itself from the leak, and threatened to fire the researcher.
``A person who has reached the age of 87 deserves some respect,'' said President Ion Iliescu, adding the disclosure showed ``a lack of decency.''
The daily Adevarul called the publication: ``A dastardly attack on the Romanian Orthodox Church.''
Romania has been more reluctant than other former Soviet Bloc nations to break with its Communist past.
Romania's Catholic Church distanced itself from the allegations. ``We want to avoid speculation that we were involved in defamatory information,'' said Bishop Ioan Robu. The journalist who published the story was Catholic, Robu said.