The Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church officiated Sunday, 16 April 2017, the Vespers of Love, during which the gospel passage from John 20:19-25 was read in 12 languages.
Also present were Their Graces Qais Sadiq, Bishop of Erzurum (Patriarchate of Antioch), Ieronim of Sinaia, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch, and Timotei of Prahova, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Bucharest.
After reciting in twelve languages the gospel reading that depicts the first appearance of the risen Lord to His disciples, Patriarch Daniel delivered a homily, which he opened by saying that joy and peace are the first fruits of the presence of the risen Christ in the life of humans.
The peace He offers to His disciples is a heavenly peace, the Patriarch noted. It is not a peace resulting from agreements or conventions. This peace comes from the source of life, since Christ is the fullness of life and only He can grant people peace as fullness of life, of joy and of light.
The Patriarch went on to explain why Jesus Christ keeps for eternity the marks of the Cross on His risen and glorified Body. He carries them for eternity to show us that the mystery of the Holy Cross is unseparated from the Resurrection. On the Cross He showed His sacrificial, humble love, becoming obedient to God unto death. He showed His humble and merciful love that healed the sin of disobedience of our foreparents Adam and Eve and that became triumphant over the proud and wicked devil, who disobeyed God.
The patriarch reflected on the tie between the Cross, the Resurrection and love. The mystery of the Cross is interiorized in the glory of Christ’s Resurrection, the patriarch said.
By observing that even after His Resurrection, Jesus Christ bears in His Body the stigmata of the Cross we understand that we should never separate the Cross and the Resurrection nor vice versa because the power of the Resurrection is hidden in the Cross and the glory of the Cross is observed in the Resurrection.
The fact that the gospel reading is recited in several languages, the patriarch explained, shows that all nations all called to listen to the good news of Christ’s triumph over death, the good news of the remission of sins and of the light of the universal resurrection inaugurated through His rising from the dead.
His Beatitude made reference to the power Jesus Christ offered His disciples, and through them to their successors – bishops and priests – namely the power to remit sins.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the faithful were presented icon cards depicting the Resurrection of Christ.