Patriarch Daniel Urges Believers to Look After Mental Health Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Aurelian Iftimiu | 26 March 2020

His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel Wednesday celebrated the Divine Liturgy at St George chapel of his patriarchal residence in Bucharest to mark the feast of the Annunciation (March 25/ April 7).

During his sermon, the Patriarch referred to the Akathist Hymn to the Most Holy Theotokos and the special prayer placed at the end of the Akathist Hymn.

“This prayer is very useful especially in this time when everyone is facing the pandemic, this disease, this unseen enemy, which reaps human lives and induces fear in all the people worldwide,” the Romanian Patriarch said March 25.

The Patriarch said that during this period we should pray more to the Virgin Mary to protect us, “because she has a maternal heart.”

“She is the protectress of children, parents, nuns and monks in monasteries. She is the protectress of the poor, the sick, the saddened, the bereaved. (…) She is a humble love for those whom no one loves anymore, that is for those who are forgotten, marginalized, alone, abandoned.”

“The Mother of God can be of great help if we ask her for support especially in this time of trial because she has a maternal heart. She has a merciful and humble love for all humans. She is a quick helper. She is very helpful when we ask for Her aid with strong faith and humility.”

Patriarch Daniel prayerfully remembered all those affected by the new coronavirus:

“Let us pray to the Mother of God to strengthen all those who are in sickness, to give to all those who are not sick wisdom to ward off sickness, to help all doctors and all medical personnel who care for the sick, to help all those who do deeds of mercy by helping the old, the poor, the lonely, and to help those who encourage others.”

Positive and active home-staying

In his sermon, Patriarch Daniel offered some answers to the question “How should we stay home?” given that many cannot participate in the church’s services and we physically distance ourselves as much as possible from other people.

“We must not fall into despair during this period, but let us strengthen ourselves in faith,” encouraged the Patriarch.

“If we do not stay home usefully, the home-staying can make us sick even if we do not get the virus. By becoming discouraged. If the fear of the disease becomes a psychosis or a collective neurosis, we damage our mental health even if physical health is not affected by this virus that has spread the disease throughout the world.”

“At the question, ‘How do we stay home?’ we respond: In a positive and active way. With prayer and good activities,” His Beatitude went on offering several examples of good activities:

  1. Pray in the morning, at noon and in the evening. Use prayer books but also the prayers we know by heart. Read spiritual books that enlighten our souls, strengthen our faith and love for God and our fellow human beings.
  2. Communicate daily with those in the household face to face, but also with those outside by telephone or in writing to encourage them and to cultivate their hope and activity.

“If we encourage others, we also embolden ourselves, but at the same time we strengthen, intensify our brotherly communion with our peers.”

  1. Listen to radio programs and watch television shows that enlighten and enrich spiritually, not programs that inspire panic, fear or discouragement.
  2. Help with good words and good deeds those who need our help. During this period, we can complete works that we have not been able to finish due to lack of time.
  3. During this time we must make positive projects for the period to come after the current epidemic ends.

“We must be active when we are at home through these spiritual, intellectual activities through which we encourage our fellows, we strengthen our faith and love of God through prayer and the love of our neighbor through good deeds.”

At the end of Sunday Divine Liturgy, Patriarch Daniel read out the special prayer for deliverance from the new epidemic.

Photography courtesy of the Archive
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