Romanian Orthodox Church
The opening speech of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel at the Interreligious Symposium “ Diaspora – A Reality of the Society of Today”, Palace of the Patriarchate, 29 – 30 May 2012:
It is with joy that we greet all the participants in the Interreligious Symposium on the theme Diaspora – a Reality of the Society of Today, organised by the Romanian Patriarchate in co-operation with Sapir Center of Jerusalem and the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, with the support of the Romanian State Secretariat for Religious Denominations, an event hosted at the Palace of the Patriarchate in Bucharest, from 29 – 30 May 2012.
We remember with emotion the moment when, 14 years ago, we opened, on 20 July 1998, as Metropolitan of Moldova and Bucovina, the International Judaic – Christian Symposium at Durău Monastery, on the theme “The Social Morals of the Prophets and the Spirituality of the Psalms“.
We also remember that in our message delivered at the end of His Eminence Great Rabbi Menachem Hacohen’s mission in Romania, we underlined the main co-ordinates of the good relations existing between the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Mosaic Denomination, relations that His Eminence encouraged with much love, responsibility and wisdom.
Therefore, today’s Symposium held at the Romanian Patriarchate does not represent an isolated event, but a continuation in our dialogue, being inspired both by the common responsibility we have in the context of the contemporary world and by the Judeo–Christian traditional spiritual values, which are at the very foundation of the present civilisation, especially of the European one. This is why we are called to actively manifest our social prophetic mission, showing the world what the will of God is in the life of the people and defending the unique value of every human being created in His image.
One concrete step in view of promoting a fruitful interreligious dialogue among the religious denominations from Romania, based on confidence and mutual respect, is represented by the setting up, at the initiative of the Romanian Patriarchate, of the Consultative Council of the Religious Cults in Romania, on 14 April 2011. Its main purposes are the following: promoting the faith in God and its importance in the life of each person and of the society; defending and promoting the human being and his/her dignity; manifesting solidarity and co-operation among the religious groups in spiritual, cultural, educational and social fields; rejecting and discouraging any form of extremism, etc. The presence of the Mosaic Religion in this Council is very important, because it represents an example of solidarity and co-operation for the good of the society.
The phenomenon of migration, which led to the creation of many Diasporas formed on ethnic and religious criteria, is a general phenomenon, which has manifested itself from long time. This phenomenon brought about, in the course of time, spiritual, cultural and social changes. In this context, Israel has a rich tradition of the Diaspora, which exemplary cultivates solidarity and the relation with the native homeland of the ethnic identity, i.e. the land of Israel.
As for Romania, the phenomenon of migration (permanent or temporary) greatly increased during the last 10 years, especially after the removal of compulsory visas for the Romanian citizens who travel to the European Union states. This new situation creates a series of economical and cultural opportunities, but also many problems and challenges, from a spiritual, pastoral and social point of view, for which we must find adequate and appropriate ways and means to address them. In this sense, during the last few years, the Romanian Patriarchate developed an extensive activity abroad, reorganising and setting up new dioceses and parishes in the West, where over four million of Romanians emigrated of late.
From this perspective, we greatly appreciate the topical character of the theme of this Symposium, fully aware that only through dialogue and co-operation, at the national and international levels, among the representatives of various Churches and religions, as well as through education for a culture of social peace, in the spirit of civilised co-habitation among various ethnic groups, confessions and religions, can we promote the common good for the benefit of every person and of the society as a whole.
In this sense, a very important field for promoting a good knowledge among people belonging to different cultures and religions is that of the pilgrimages to the holy places, one example in this regard being the increased number of Romanian Orthodox pilgrims who visit Israel.
We do appreciate the support that the Israeli civil and religious authorities give to the Romanian pilgrims and hope that in a not very far future our pilgrims will be able to visit the Romanian Settlement at Jordan River too, a place that our faithful venerate, but which, for security reasons, has been inaccessible to pilgrims.
Hoping that the participants in this Symposium will be spiritually enriched through the academic contributions of the distinguished rabbis here present, of the theology professors and of some representatives of the Romanian Diaspora, we are glad that we can co-operate in promoting the common good, the human solidarity and the mutual respect.
Patriarch of Romania