Church of Romania – March 2014
On the occasion of the great feast Annunciation , His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania celebrated the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom united with the Vesper at the Patriarchal Cathedral of Bucharest assisted by a group of priests and deacons.
The Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church showed in the sermon delivered after reading the Evangelical Pericope that the Annunciation is the first feast dedicated to the Mother of God confirmed by documents. Today’s feast marks the beginning of the people’s salvation, His Beatitude said.
The beginning of the salvation is the beginning of the Incarnation of the Son of God from Virgin Mary
“This mystery of conceiving the Son of God from Virgin Mary or of the Incarnation of the Son of the eternal God to become man for the people’s salvation is a mystery in which the entire Holy Trinity is present, not only the Son who is being born, but also God-the-Father who is present in the work and the Holy Spirit who prepares the Mother of God to conceive God-the-Son. These great truths show us that the purpose for which the Son of God is made Son of the Virgin is our salvation. This is why the troparion of the feast says: This is the beginning of our salvation. What does salvation mean? We use this word, salvation, but when we are asked what it means we do not find right away the best words to explain it. Well, today’s feast shows us what salvation is. It is the man’s union with God. It is only united with the God always alive that man can save himself and live eternally. Only united with the One Holy God man can be purified of sins and reach the resemblance to God. Today is the beginning of salvation because today is the beginning of the Incarnation through conceiving, through the work of the Holy Spirit. God-the-Son is born by Virgin Mary assuming the human nature. This is the mystery of salvation, the mystery of the union of God with humankind in the person of the Son so that all the humans in Christ should get eternal life. Thus, the beginning of the salvation is the beginning of the Incarnation of the Son of God from Virgin Mary. This is the great mystery of the Incarnation, namely the Almighty God is seen as low and devoted. Lowliness is the state of existence, the permanent state of the life of God. When He shows His almightiness He also shows His almighty love stronger than death. His lowliness is shown in His Cross, and in His Resurrection the power of His love is shown stronger than death”.
Lowliness is the very presence of God in our life
The Patriarch of Romania has also shown that “this Mystery of the Annunciation shows us the mystery centuries old hidden and never known by angels. It is the union of the unlimited with the limited. It is the union of the eternal one with the mortals. It is the union of the almighty with the weak ones. It is the union of the Holy One for the salvation and healing of the sinners. Thus, here is the lowliness of God beyond understanding. This is why poet Alexandru Vlahuta said in a poem that Christ is smiling on everybody almighty and in lowliness. In the ordinary language it is hard to understand how somebody can be both almighty and in lowliness. The feast also shows us the mystery of the lowliness of the Mother of God because the one born from her, the Son of God is in lowliness and born by a mother in lowliness. Adam and Eve sinned because they were proud and disobedient. They wanted to become like God without God and against the will of God. Now, the new Adam, Jesus Christ shows Himself in lowliness till the death on the Cross. And the new Eve, the Mother of God, Virgin Mary is shown in lowliness. When the angel comes into her house and greets her with much respect and lowliness saying: “Greetings favoured one! The Lord is with you…” she is surprised and wonders what that was. It was because she saw the angel venerating her and she was surprised. She was not proud, but surprised. And then, not to frighten her, Archangel Gabriel tells her: “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end”. When she heard these words of the angel she realised who the one born from her will be. He will be named the Son of the Highest One, His Kingdom will have no end and His name will be Jesus, namely God saves as the word means in Hebrew. This feast is the feast of the beginning of our salvation because one of the Trinity is made man to bring us, the humans, and raise us from sin and death, to the eternal love of the Most Holy Trinity and to the Kingdom of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (…) Everything that is worked in holiness must be worked in lowliness. No lowliness no holiness. Only where it is lowliness the sign of holiness is seen because, as Saint Isaac the Syrian says, lowliness is not in looking down, worn out clothes, or slow talk. It is in the low thinking of oneself. What are you compared to God? It is because, he adds, lowliness is the very presence of God in our life. This is why those who only simulate lowliness but do not have it they will show, in the course of time, that they only simulated it. Thus, what we think of ourselves in front of God is lowliness or not. If we think we are more sinners than all the other people, as Saint Paul the Apostle said, then we have the presence of the Christ in lowliness in us and the Mother of God helps especially those obedient and in lowliness”.
The gift of the birth of children is blessed through all the feasts of the Mother of God
Today’s feast is a day of the family who has children, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel also said.
“This feast calls us to appreciate a lot the gift of giving birth to children. The Mother of God accepts to give birth to Jesus, the Saviour of the world, with joy, lowliness, obedience, as all the married women should wait for the gift of giving birth to children with joy, lowliness, and obedience, as a gift of God. Unfortunately, in today’s Romania, although the majority of the people are Orthodox, we have more abortions that the number of the population. The number of abortions exceeded 22 million. This fact should make us think why we have reached this state of things. Some people say that the problem is the poverty, laziness, selfishness, but we must think that our parents and forerunners had 10-15 children. A priest from Sibiu has 13 children. We commemorate this year the Brancovean Saints Martyrs. Constantine Brancoveanu and his wife, lady Maria Brancovanu had 11 children: 4 sons and 7 daughters. The boys died a martyr’s death, but the girls lived. This is how the gift of giving birth to children is blessed through all the feasts of the Mother of God, and especially through the feast of the Annunciation. Let us pray the Mother of God to protect the families with children, and give children to those who do not have but want them, for the joy of the Church and glory of God. Amen!”.
The Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church ordained, during the Divine Liturgy, deacon Ilie Chiscari priest for the parish of Dedu, deanery of South Ilfov.
The feast of the Annunciation reiterates the time when Virgin Mary learned she would give birth to Messiah, waited for centuries.