‘The profession of the true faith opens the Heavens. Without confessing Christ’s divinity, no one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven, no one can see the Kingdom of Heaven,’ His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel stressed during his sermon on the Sunday of Orthodoxy.
The Patriarch of Romania explained that true faith ‘is laid as a foundation at the beginning of Lent’ because through faith ‘we maintain a true, living tie with the eternal, living God, and we gain eternal life.’
‘By professing the true faith, by confessing the divinity of Jesus Christ, Who for us humans and for our salvation was incarnate, we have the hope of gaining eternal life,’ the Romanian Patriarch underscored March 8.
The Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church added that ‘true faith not only opens the Heavens to us but also shows us what heavenly beauty is.’
Addressing the congregation at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest, Patriarch Daniel referred to the daily Apostle reading, noting that faith is ‘the evidence of things not seen’ and ‘a provision of the things promised.’
‘Saint Paul,’ the Patriarch said, ‘shows us that faith is a foretaste of the spiritual goods of the Kingdom of Heaven.’
“That is why people who have a strong faith feel the power of Christ spiritually in the Church and taste the joy and peace of the encounter with Christ. How do we know this? From the experience of the saints and from the witness of those who lived this truth,” His Beatitude said.
True faith is the foundation of holiness
During his homily, Patriarch Daniel referred to the historic event celebrated on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, namely the triumph of Orthodoxy over iconoclasm in 843.
“The icons in the Church,” said Patriarch Daniel, “are symbols of the glory and beauty of the Kingdom of Heaven. That is why we chant: Standing in the temple of Thy glory, we seem to stand in heaven… That is, the Church on earth is an icon of the Kingdom of Heaven. It prepares us to perceive the beauty of the unsetting glory in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Referring to the processions with the holy icons, the Patriarch of Romania said that they “show us that Orthodoxy is not only true but also beautiful, it brings joy in the soul, it brings the beauty of God’s love poured into His saints.”
“Today’s Sunday tells us another truth,” the Patriarch emphasized: “When we carry in procession the icons of Christ, the Virgin Mary and the saints, we show the right faith and the right lifestyle united. Because the right faith is the foundation of holiness.”
‘In the Sunday of Orthodoxy, we profess the right faith and the right lifestyle. That is why the first Sunday of Lent is the Sunday of true faith that calls us to sanctify our life by repentance, by frequent Communion and by good deeds. Therefore, the beauty of Orthodoxy is shown in the kindness and saintliness of those who love Christ.”
The Patriarch of Romania presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest having as concelebrants his patriarchal auxiliary bishop Varlaam of Ploiesti and the assistant bishop to the Archdiocese of Bucharest, Timotei of Prahova.
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene