Thursday evening, 1 September 2016, the opening ceremony of the International Meeting of Orthodox Youth was held in Bucharest.
First, in the presence of Patriarch Daniel, His Grace Timotei of Prahova, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Bucharest, officiated a thanksgiving (Te Deum) service at the summer altar of the Patriarchal Cathedral.
Following the service, the thousands of young people sang, together with the byzantine music choir Tronos, the national anthem of Romania – Romanian, wake up!
Then followed the anthem of the Meeting, interpreted by artist Mihai Georgescu, accompanied by the Bucharest Metropolitan Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Jinga, and the byzantine music choir Tronos, conducted by Archdeacon protopsaltes Mihai Buca.
Next the Patriarch of Romania addressed to the present young people with a word of encouragement and blessing, entitled: Faith in Jesus Christ – a Source of Joy.
We encourage you to joyfully cultivate love towards the Christian family, which can only be discovered in the Church, because here it has a value of an icon of the love of Christ for humanity, while the saints of the Church are life models and intercessors for all youth in the world.
The following moment of the opening ceremony was the presentation of the delegations participating in the Meeting. Two representatives of each delegation, dressed in national costumes, carrying the flag of the country they come from and of their diocese, went on the stage and received the blessing of the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
The moderator of the event, Iuliana Lazar, gave the word to the representatives of state authorities, who conveyed messages on the occasion of this international event.
The message of the President of Romania, Mr Klaus Iohannis, was conveyed by Mr Sergiu Nistor, presidential adviser in the Department for Culture, Religious Denominations and Centenary.
The presence at this event of over 2000 young people from home and the Romanian Diaspora, or from the sister Orthodox Churches proves the power of the faith in God and the vitality of Orthodoxy. They are the proof that the Romanian Orthodox Church has an irreplaceable role in forming and educating young people in Romania through the values she promotes and through the models she proposes to the new generations.
The Govern of Romania was represented at #ITO2016 by Mr Victor Opaschi, State Secretary for Religious Denominations.
This event is a way to affirm and celebrate Orthodox identity as a part of the European identity. I consider that this meeting reuniting thousands of Orthodox young people from all across the world is an event that draws attention by its integrative dimension, but which speaks especially about the importance of the Church and the faith in the life of contemporary societies.
The Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research is a constant partner of the Romanian Patriarchate in youth activities. Mr Minister Mircea Dumitru was also present at the event.
The participation of such a large number of young people encompassed by the same values and concerns is a success and I believe that this type of events, recalling to the present all those things that make us alike and draw us closer one to another should be undertaken more frequently, and not only among young people. This year’s International Meeting of Orthodox Youth offers to its participants the possibility to discuss about the relationship of young people with the Church, namely about the role, the place and the importance of young people in the life of the Church.
Following the addresses of the state representatives, the byzantine music choir Tronos of the Patriarchal Cathedral, the Trei Parale (Threepenny) band, and Cantus Domini choir held their performances.
The event concluded by singing once again the anthem of the Meeting.