The Orthodox Church celebrates Thursday, 27 October 2016, the Pious Saint Demetrius the New, Protector of Bucharest. The Patriarch of Romania presided over the Divine Liturgy officiated at the outdoor altar next to the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest. Together with His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel concelebrated several hierarchs:
- His Eminence Gabriel, Metropolitan of Nea Ionia and Filadelfia;
- His Eminence Naum, Metropolitan of Ruse;
- His Eminence Teofan, Metropolitan of Moldova and Bukovina;
- His Eminence Laurenţiu, Metropolitan of Transylvania;
- His Eminence Andrei, Metropolitan of Cluj, Maramureș and Sălaj;
- His Eminence Irineu, Metropolitan of Oltenia;
- His Eminence Ioan, Metropolitan of Banat;
- His Eminence Hon Metropolitan Nifon, Archbishop of Târgoviște and patriarchal exarch;
- His Eminence Irineu, Archbishop of Alba Iulia;
- His Eminence Varsanufie, Archbishop of Râmnic;
- His Eminence Ioachim, Archbishop of Roman and Bacău;
- His Eminence Calinic, Archbishop of Argeș and Muscel;
- His Eminence Ciprian, Archbishop of Buzău and Vrancea;
- His Eminence Casian, Archbishop of Lower Danube;
- His Eminence Timotei, Archbishop of Arad;
- His Eminence Nicolae, Romanian Orthodox Archbishop of the Americas;
- His Grace Corneliu, Bishop of Huşi;
- His Grace Lucian, Bishop of Caransebeș;
- His Grace Sofronie, Bishop of Oradea;
- His Grace Nicodim, Bishop of Severin and Strehaia;
- His Grace Andrei, Bishop of Covasna;
- His Grace Galaction, Bishop of Alexandria and Teleorman;
- His Grace Visarion, Bishop of Tulcea;
- His Grace Petroniu, Bishop of Sălaj;
- His Grace Gurie, Bishop of Deva and Hunedoara;
- His Grace Siluan, Romanian Orthodox Bishop of Hungary;
- His Grace Siluan, Romanian Orthodox Bishop of Italy;
- His Grace Mihail, Romanian Orthodox Bishop of Australia and New Zealand;
- His Grace Varlaam of Ploieşti, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch;
- His Grace Ieronim of Sinaia, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch;
- His Grace Timotei of Prahova, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Bucharest;
- His Grace Ilarion of Făgărăși, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Sibiu,
- His Grace Paisie of Lugoj, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Timișoara,
- His Grace Sofian of Brașov, Assistant Bishop to the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of Germany, Austria and Luxembourg,
- His Grace Emilian of Lovişte, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Râmnic;
- His Grace Ioan Casian of Vicina, Assistant Bishop to the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the Americas,
- His Grace Iustin of Sighet, Assistant Hierarch to the Diocese of Maramureş and Sătmar,
- His Grace Ignatie of Mureș, Assistant Hierarch to the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Spain and Portugal.
After the gospel reading, the Patriarch of Romania referred to the life of Pious Saint Demetrius, stressing out its ascetic character. His Beatitude said that Saint Demetrius was a great intercessor and emphasised the important role that prayer had in the life of every Christian. When people are praying, they are not alone. They start being alone only when they stop praying. Those who pray are together with God and His Saints, His Beatitude said.
Pious Saint Demetrius the New, in his loneliness as shepherd and cattle herder, prayed much. He actually never felt alone because through prayer he lived together with God and His Saints. When someone prays, he is not alone. He is alone only when he stops praying. When praying, man lives together with God and His Saints, even in solitude, in wilderness. First, Pious Saint Demetrius was a man of prayer. Meeting the humble and gentle Christ in his prayer, he became humble and gentle. Through prayer, we welcome God’s humble and merciful love in our souls. This humble and merciful love brings peace against fleshly passions and passionate thoughts. Thus, Pious Saint Demetrius was a gentle and humble person, having a special spiritual consciousness.
The Patriarch continued his homily by explaining the context when the relics of Saint Demetrius were discovered.
In 1774, the relics of Pious Saint Demetrius arrived to Bucharest, brought by the troops of the Russian General Peter Satikov. On the proposal of Hagi Dimitrie, the general offered the relics to Metropolitan Gregory II of Wallachia, who placed them in the current patriarchal cathedral. Ever since, his holy relics invite each year thousands of Romanian pilgrims, especially during his feast, in the month of October.
In his homily, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel pointed out the importance of pilgrimage and said that pilgrims are persons who are searching in this world that which is not of this world, i.e. the Kingdom of God.
Pilgrimage represents the pursuit of holiness, whose source is not of this world, but rather in God the Only One Holy. When a person undertakes a pilgrimage, he meets God, who called him to pilgrimage. Thus, pilgrimage is the answer offered to the mystical calling of God.