On his 13th enthronement anniversary, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel urged the faithful to always be thankfulness to God because ‘we live permanently from His help and mercy and feel His blessing.’
Work in communion
The Patriarch confessed that in this period of patriarchal stewardship he felt ‘God’s blessing,’ especially through ‘the work in communion’: ‘what we accomplished together with the members of the Holy Synod, helped by the clergy and the believers, but also by the central and local state authorities for the profit of the Romanian people.’
‘These years of ministry showed us that when we obey one another and together we obey to Christ the Lord, the result of these humble obediences is turned into visible and enduring works. Therefore, we found that the work of the Synod together was and remains the greatest blessing from God,’ His Beatitude said Sept. 30.
In his speech at the Patriarchal Cathedral, the Patriarch of Romania presented the effects of the elevation to the rank of archdiocese in 2009 of several dioceses. “They have intensified the pastoral, missionary, building activity, so that any new step raised in life, as Nicolae Iorga said, is a new altar of sacrifice.”
He also spoke about the changes brought about by the establishment, during his patriarchal mandate, of new dioceses abroad.
They pointed out that the Church must take care not only of the faithful who remain in the country, but also of those who live abroad. “Those who are spatially farther from us must feel more parental and fraternal love from the mother Church,” said the Patriarch, who explained that this role belongs to “hierarchs and clergy outside the country and in the Western diaspora.”
The work carried out in theological schools and by professors of religious education he described as “a joy and a great blessing.”
“Professors have always been eager to pass on the faith to the new generation, but at the same time to form characters, to teach children to value love for God, for their parents, teachers and professors, but also for their peers.”
Pastoral challenges during coronavirus pandemic
The Romanian Patriarch also referred to the health crisis caused by the new coronavirus outbreak and highlighted what we can learn from this experience.
“In particular, God’s blessing was seen in the trial we went through during the state of emergency. There was a need for a new pastoral care, namely, if until the state of emergency the faithful came to the church and met with the priests, now the priests went to the houses of the lay faithful. They brought them consecrated Easter bread, the Easter light and humanitarian aid.”
“This trial made the priests appreciate even more the presence of the faithful in the church after the state of emergency ended and the faithful were allowed to participate in the church services,” but it also led to “appreciation from the lay believers.”
The joy of communion
“Through this experience, we find that joy often comes through the cross. After going through trials and showing fidelity to Christ and His Church, we also feel the joy of rediscovery, reunion and deeper cooperation,” the Patriarch of Romania underscored.
The Patriarch concluded: “Only sincere together-work with faith, accompanied by humble generosity – spiritual and material – helps us to feel God’s blessing and the joy of working with the grace of the Most Holy Spirit.”
“Therefore, we thank God and all those who remain in communion, work in communion for the Church and the people and will obtain salvation in communion with the Most Holy Trinity and with the saints of God, for the joy of us all.”
Patriarch Daniel’s ministry
On behalf of the members of the Holy Synod, Bishop Visarion of Tulcea spoke about the achievements of the Church under the coordination of Patriarch Daniel and their impact on society.
“Thirteen years have passed with spiritual joys, accomplishments, but also trials, years in which the life of our ancestral Church has changed completely. Thirteen years passed like thirteen days, because they were years full of work, full of devotion and dedication for the benefit of our Holy Church and the right-believing Romanian people.”
His Grace Bishop Visarion reiterated the importance and the role of the departments of the Basilica Media Centre, established less than a month after the enthronement of Patriarch Daniel, which he called “an apostolic work in the heart of our ancestral Church.”
About the National Cathedral, one of the landmark projects of Patriarch Daniel, the Bishop of Tulcea said that it “will speak over the centuries about the permanence of the Orthodox faith in these lands and the love and sacrifice” of the current Patriarch of Romania.
Bishop Visarion likened the cross that will be placed on the main tower of the National Cathedral to the cross on Mount Caraiman.
“You moved the Carpathian Mountains in the middle of the city of Bucur through this great cathedral which is a sign of permanence, faith and our Romanian people.”
“The thought of the great unifying patriarch of the country, Miron Cristea, was embodied in the exceptional realization of Your Beatitude.”
Diaspora & Youth
Among the achievements of the 13 years, Bishop Visarion mentioned the care for monasteries, places of worship, for clergy and the faithful. “You did not forget the Romanians abroad either, because immediately after Your Beatitude’s coming you multiplied the number of parishes and dioceses in the country, but also abroad, sending there dynamic and young hierarchs who did apostolic work and sacrifice.”
The bishop of Tulcea added that Patriarch Daniel showed a special care for youth, for students and schoolchildren, “impelling us members of the Holy Synod and the priests and the believers to participate all in the foundation of the fraternal relationship, as it has always been, between the Church, the School, the Society and the Family.”
“With the spiritual zeal that characterizes you,” Bishop Visarion noted, “you have always urged and still urge us to be in support of those who are in trials, tribulations, and sufferings.”
According to Bishop Visarion, the Patriarch of Romania received the power to carry out the work entrusted to him by the “humble prayer” and “strong faith” received from His Beatitude’s parents, the family of the teacher Alexie and Stela Ciobotea. “Faith that you have fruited by word and deed you show as a true father of all Romanian Orthodox Christians.”
Among the first, Lord, remember
“By humbly thanking God and Christ the Lord for the gifts poured out for thirteen years on our holy Church, on Your Beatitude and on the right-believing Romanian people, it is now fitting that we all – hierarchs, priests and believers – give glory to God and let us pray that even from now on He may strengthen you with strength so that by the word and with much power and by the deed of sacrificial love the name of our Heavenly Father may be glorified, and we may humbly say the prayer: Among the first, Lord, remember His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church: grant him to Your holy churches in peace, safety, honour, and health, unto length of days, rightly teaching the word of Your truth,” concluded the Bishop of Tulcea.
On September 12, 2007, His Beatitude was elected Archbishop of Bucharest, Metropolitan of Muntenia and Dobrudja and Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church. He was enthroned on September 30, 2007 in the Patriarchal Cathedral of Bucharest.
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Mircea Florescu