Te Deum at the Patriarchal Cathedral on the Occasion of the New Church Year

Romanian Orthodox Church

On 1 September 2012, the new church year began in the Orthodox Church. On this occasion, His Grace Varlaam Ploiesteanul, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch celebrated the Te Deum service in the Patriarchal Cathedral, after the Divine Liturgy, assisted by a group of priests and deacons.

In the speech delivered in the end of the religious service, His Grace Bishop Varlaam Ploiesteanul showed that although the feast of the Civil Year was everywhere generalised for 1 January, yet, we, the Church, remain faithful to its tradition to celebrate the beginning of the Church Year on 1 September: “The Church took over this date from the Jewish tradition, because the Jews celebrated the beginning of the year at the beginning of September (tishri).The Jewish tradition observed the fact that the day when the Lord, worshipped in Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, brought the world from non-existence to existence was a day at the beginning of September. The Jewish tradition also considered that the flooding waters withdrew from the earth surface at the beginning of September, when Noah’ ark could remain on Ararat Mountain, and Noah came down with all his family to make a new beginning to the history of humankind. At the same time, the Jewish tradition points out the fact that Moses came down the Mount Sinai carrying the Tablets of the Law on the first day of September, making in this way the beginning of a new relationship between God and the Jewish people, a relationship of which rules were established through the ten commandments that Moses received in the mountains. The beginning of the Gospel preaching by Jesus Christ, our Lord, is set at the beginning of September in our church tradition too.

At the same time, His Grace eulogized the personality of Saint Dionysius Exiguous celebrated today in the Orthodox Church, showing that he is the parent of the calendar and of the new Christian era: “In 2008, when the Church raised Saint Dionysius Exiguous among the saints, about whose life you heard at the Divine Liturgy, the Holy Synod of our Church decided that his celebration day should be 1 September. The reason of this decision was the fact that Saint Dionysius Exiguous is the scholar of Romanian origin who set in 527 the counting of the Christian era, making the beginning of the years number when Jesus Christ, our Lord, was born. This calendar counting set by Saint Dionysius throughout the next centuries was accepted by all peoples. Today, even in the non-Christian world the counting of the years is the one established by this great Father of the Church of the Christian era and of the church law. Saint Dionysius Exiguous was born in our Dobrudgea, was formed in a monks’ monastery, and then left for Constantinople, then to Rome, working in the chancellery of the bishops of Rome for 50 years. He gathered, in this capacity, all the church laws, canons of the Saints Apostles, of the local Councils, and of the Ecumenical Council, becoming the father of the church law”.

To end with his speech, His Grace Varlaam Ploiesteanul showed that the beginning of the new church year represents for the Christians a new opportunity to decide to make a new good beginning to our Christian living: “The day of 1 September, of the beginning of the new church year, is a new opportunity for every one of us to decide to make a new good beginning of our Christian living, to be more attentive to ourselves, to judge us in the evening, before going to bed, more than we did it so far, and relate our every gesture, thought and deed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our Saviour, and spend every day some holy time through prayer, honest work and accomplishment of the commandments of Jesus Christ, our Lord, so that when our temporary life on the earth is over, the Lord of history and eternity may receive us in His eternal Kingdom. We wish you at the beginning of this new church year that Mother of God help you so that the time that God gives to every one of us be spent as true Christians, and earn the never ending Kingdom in this short time spent on the earth”.