The Three Holy Hierarchs are models of spiritual pastors who combine faith with culture, piety with the missionary work of the Church, the Patriarch of Romania said Sunday.
Patriarch Daniel delivered a homily focusing on the main virtues of the Three Holy Hierarchs celebrated Jan. 30 by the Church: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom. The Three Hierarchs have taught people how to live in a pagan world, the Patriarch said stressing the role played by the Saints in the history of salvation.
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel spoke Sunday at the end of the Divine Liturgy celebrated at St Gregory the Enlightener Chapel of the Patriarchal Residence.
Stressing the ascetical and prayerful life of the three leaders of the Church, the Patriarch of Romania noted that they had poor health due to many days of fasting, prayer, vigil, and hard labour. The Three Holy Hierarchs, the Patriarch said, wore the treasure of the Holy Spirit in clay vessels, in bodies weakened by fasting, vigil, intellectual work, and many concerns for the life and unity of the Church.
Referring to their true faith and the care for the poor, His Beatitude compared the Three Hierarchs with the Holy Apostles and the Prophets of the Old Testament.
The Three Holy Hierarchs were defenders of the faith against heresies, having special zeal and wisdom, responsibility and an extraordinary care similar to the Holy Apostles. They were supporters of the poor like the Prophets of the Old Testament. They have defended human dignity, which had been humiliated in their society due to personal or collective egoistic passions.
The Three Holy Hierarchs are models of mercifulness and prayer, His Beatitude added. Their care for the poor was not manifested solely by prayer and by urging others to give alms, but the Hierarchs themselves built hospitals for the sick and settlements for the afflicted. Patriarch Daniel called them promoters of institutionalised social work.
Because of their exemplary life and their perseverance in defending Orthodox faith, in 1936 the Three Great Hierarchs were declared protectors of Theological Education.