The first Divine Liturgy in 2022 at the Patriarchal Cathedral ended with the proclamation of the solemn and commemorative themes of the New Year.
Therefore, 2022 was proclaimed a Solemn Year of prayer in the Church’s life and the Christian’s life and a Commemorative Year of the Hesychast Saints Symeon the New Theologian, Gregory Palamas and Paisius (Velichkovsky) of Neamț.
The patriarchal auxiliary bishop Varlaam of Ploiești, Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod, read the Act of Proclamation. The document notes that the Synod approved both this proclamation and a framework program for theological-educational, cultural and media activities in the Romanian Patriarchate.
After the reading of the synodal act, Patriarch Daniel detailed the reasons for choosing these topics and their importance.
“Prayer is the foundation of man’s life and spiritual growth, it is saving and sanctifying because it fills us with the presence of the love of God Almighty,” His Beatitude stressed, offering several biblical exhortations and recalling that the “Our Father” is the source of inspiration to all other prayers.
Nothing can replace prayer
Patriarch Daniel explained that “prayer, as the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in the godly person, brings comfort, peace and joy. It unites us with the Most Holy Trinity, the Source of joy and eternal life, but also with the Church of Christ of all times and all places.”
“Without prayer there is no Church and no Christian life. When we lose the joy and peace of mind, it is a sure sign that we are not praying properly and as much as we should. The Orthodox Christian must pray as much as possible because prayer brings much holy love into the heart; it unites us with God the Merciful; it helps us to see in every man a brother and in every beauty of creation a gift from God. Prayer helps us to face the hardships of life and to taste the light and joy of the resurrection and eternal life in this world.”
“Nothing can replace prayer, and no activity is more precious than prayer, for it gives us inspiration and strength to speak the kind word and to do good.”
“In the context of the restrictions caused by the global pandemic situation of the last two years, it has become even more necessary to emphasise the practice of prayer in the life of the Church and of the faithful. Prayer is a source of joy and spiritual strength, a source of peace and love for God and for our neighbours. It is, as the holy ascetics said, “the spiritual breath of the soul.”
“If we call on the Lord Jesus Christ in constant prayer, saying, ‘Lord, save us!’ Lord, deliver us! ›, then, by His grace, He comes to us in the soul, He enlightens us and strengthens us.”
“All the good deeds of the Christian and all the pure thoughts are the fruits of their prayers and of those who pray for them: priests, parents, godly friends and good people.”
“Starting from the exhortation of the Holy Apostle Paul, ‘Pray without ceasing,’ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and through the spiritual practice of the Holy Fathers, the ‘Prayer of the Heart’ also called the Prayer of the Mind – Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me a sinner – became the best way to enlighten the soul and sanctify the life of the Christian.’
Continuing his speech, Patriarch Daniel noted that “in the context of the 1000th anniversary of the repose in the Lord of St. Symeon the New Theologian (1022) and the 300th anniversary of the birth of St. Paisius of Neamț (1722), the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church proclaimed the year 2022 as a Commemorative Year of the Hesychast Saints Symeon the New Theologian, Gregory Palamas and Paisius of Neamț.
The Patriarch presented details from the lives of the three saints and recalled the three periods of spiritual revival in the history of the Church that are linked to their names.
The ceremony ended with the presentation of the two icons of the Solemn and Commemorative Year 2022: the Theotokos Oranta and the icon of the three Hesychast Saints Symeon the New Theologian, Gregory Palamas and Paisius of Neamț.