International Theological Congress in Bucharest

Monday, 6 October 2014, the International Congress on the theme “Senses and Importance of the Holy Sacrament of Confession and of the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist in the contemporary Orthodox theology, spirituality and mission” began at the “Dumitru Staniloae” National Centre of Permanent Formation. The Patriarch of Romania opened the Congress.

The Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church addressed those present the speech entitled “Holy Confession and Holy Eucharist – sources of the everlasting joy and life”, of which we render a fragment below: “Unfortunately, the secularised man lost the peace and joy of the soul just because he lost the practice of the prayer as breath of the soul in the presence full of grace of the merciful love of God. It is a very significant fact that Christ’s coming into the world begins with the announcement of the joy: “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10), and His ascension to heaven ends with the joy of the blessing that He gives to His disciples and through them to His entire Church: “Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy (Luke 24:52). Yet, this joy cannot be defined and analysed discursively, but shared in the communion of life of the Church of Christ who lives on His presence in grace in the ecclesiastic community in prayer (cf Matthew 28:29). This is why we must exceed the individualistic reference to the Sacrament of Confession and to the Sacrament of the Eucharist, rediscovering their ecclesiastic dimension as sources of joy, deification and spiritual growth of the ecclesiastic community in communion”.

The Minister of Education, Mr Remus Pricop, has also participated in the festive opening of the Congress, delivering a lecture on the role of faith and of the Church in the social, cultural and scientific development of society.

“Through the presence of the Church and of her mission near man, among people, and through the Holy Sacraments of Confession and Eucharist an accessible way to one’s self and to God is opened, who ennobles man and provides a new chance to spiritual healing, peace, deification, re-establishment of the relation with those around and with God, namely salvation. We must consume our existence choosing between material and spiritual, between eternity and temporary. Between these polarities we always have the option of the Holy Sacraments which will always reveal us correctly the way in which man can elevate himself, exceeding himself on the way to salvation”, the Minister for National Education, Remus Pricopie, said, according to Trinitas Radio station.

Mr Mihnea Cosmin Costoiu, Delegate Minister for High Education has also delivered a short message.

“I am here to convey you both personally and institutionally the fact that we support you and from our own point of view and from that of our work, education has the role to connect the human being with the universal values to which we all aspire and through which we hope that the society of the future will be a better one, more equilibrated, closer to the purpose it aspires to, namely a society always to teach us the love for our neighbour, a devoted love. A devoted love is the people’s chance in the entire society, as well as the chance of the individual man as part of society”, Mr Mihnea Cosmin Costoiu, Delegate Minister for Education, Scientific Research and Technological Development.

The rector of the University of Bucharest, Mircea Dumitru, closed the festive open of the International Congress.

“I think that the most important thing that we must accomplish today as educators is to try according to our abilities, and certainly our abilities will be increased by God’s grace, to counteract the present tendencies to consume and to pleasure, and especially to an attitude more and more deprived of the sacred dimension and last but not least to scepticism which is self-dissolving and not at all beneficial to society. Certainly, the Faculty of Orthodox Theology is one of the most important Faculties of our University. There are 19 Faculties and over 30,000 students in the University of Bucharest, but given the complex character of your mission, namely to form souls, educate, and research, certainly your mission is not a simple one”, the Rector of the University of Bucharest, Mr. Mircea Dumitru, said.

The Congress is organised by the Romanian Patriarchate, through the Theological Educational Department and through the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of Bucharest. The congress convenes famous theologians from the country and abroad. On the last day of session the participants will visit the church of Saint George the New, where they will pray to the relics of Saint Constantine Brancoveanu.