The Church of the “Birth of the Mother of God” and of the “Brancovean Saints Martyrs” of Deva Consecrated

On 8 November 2014, His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church consecrated the church dedicated to the “Birth of the Mother of God” and to the “Brancovean Saints Martyrs” of Deva.

The group of hierarchs consisted of: His Eminence Teofan, Metropolitan of Moldova and Bucovina, His Eminence Laurentiu, Metropolitan of Transylvania, His Eminence Andrei, Metropolitan of Cluj, Maramures and Salaj, His Eminence Teodosie, Archbishop of Tomis, His Eminence Irineu, Archbishop of Alba Iulia, His Eminence Timotei, Archbishop of Arad, His Grace Lucian, Bishop of Caransebes, His Grace Sofronie, Romanian Orthodox Bishop of Oradea, His Grace Nicodim, Bishop of Severin and Strehaia, His Grace Galaction, Bishop of Alexandria and Teleorman, His Grace Sebastian, Bishop of Slatina and Romanati, His Grace Gurie, Bishop of Deva and Hunedoara, His Grace Macarie, Bishop of the Romanian Orthodox faithful of Northern Europe, His Grace Varlaam Ploiesteanul, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch, His Grace Andrei Fagarasanul, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Sibiu, His Grace Paisie Lugojeanul, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Timisoara, and His Grace Emilian Lovisteanul, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Ramnic.

To end with the consecration service, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel spoke about the importance of the consecration of a place of worship: “Today, this new church is the gift of God for us. It was our gift to Christ, the Lord, and to the Most Holy Trinity so far. Now, through consecration, it has become the house of the Most Holy Trinity: “This house father built it, the Son strengthened it and the Holy Spirit enlightened, renewed it, and sanctified our souls” is sung in a final chant of the consecration service. It is the house of the Most Holy Trinity in which we receive the foretaste of the everlasting life, forgiveness of the sins and the joy of the joy of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a great blessing for a city or village when a new church is consecrated because this church is a new gate of heaven. This is why when we entered the church we knocked at the entrance gates saying: “Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doorsthat the King of glory may come in.” This dialogue shows us that we knock at the gates of a heavenly place, because the question is asked: “Who is this King of glory?”, and the answer is: “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle, Lord Savaot”. But the answer to the third question is: “The Lord of the powers”, namely the Lord of the angelic powers who guard the gates of heaven; then the church is opened and we enter it, as a symbol of Christ’s entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven after His Resurrection from the dead and Ascension in glory, to prepare a place for us in heaven so that we should always be in the love, glory and light of the Most Holy Trinity. The newly consecrated church is a source of blessing and it shows us the place where we prepare for resurrection, first for the resurrection of the soul from the death caused by sin, and then for the universal resurrection, at the end of time, when Christ, the Saviour, comes together with the angels and the Apostles to judge the entire world, the living and the dead, and to give His everlasting Kingdom to those who loved Him and did His will in their life.

His Beatitude emphasised the special importance of the Church for the life of the Orthodox faithful: “The Church is ‘the anteroom of the Kingdom of Heaven’, as Saint Nicolae Cabasilla calls it, and the ‘laboratory of resurrection’, as Saint Maxim the Confessor calls it. It is here that we get rid of sins, that we receive permanent heavenly gifts, the foretaste of the eternal life and remember our dear ones who passed away with the hope of resurrection and of the everlasting life. The Church cannot be replaced by anything in this world because it is only the Church that can give the forgiveness of the sins and everlasting life. We have learned from the Gospel read that whatever is bound here, on earth, will be bound in heaven, and whatever is loosed on earth will be loosed in heaven. We learn that true happiness is the relationship of man with God. Those who obey His word and accomplish it will be happy. It is here that we meet Christ, the eternal shepherd, and we answer His call to receive the foretaste of the everlasting life. “My sheep know Me and I will give them everlasting life” the third Gospel said that was read at the consecration service of the church. In the Romanian tradition, on the day of the church consecration all the Orthodox faithful, men and women, can enter the Holy Altar through the Northern door till midnight, kiss the Holy Gospel and Holy Table and every one of them prays Christ, the Lord, to deify and renew our life through the work of the Holy Spirit and for the glory of God-the-Father, the same as this church was consecrated. We shall leave a small gift for the expenses done, for what it is still to be done for maintaining the church and we will receive the blessing of God that we take back to our houses where we live, as well as where we unfold our activity, as a blessing of the blessing of the Most Holy Trinity, as joy of the joy of the angels and of the saints in heaven for the glory of God and for our salvation”.

The Patriarch of Romania celebrated the Divine Liturgy on a podium arranged near the new consecrated church assisted by the group of hierarchs, priests and deacons. After reading the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel underlined the spiritual significance of the evangelical pericope read on the celebration day of Saints Michael and Gabriel the Archangels and of all the heavenly powers. His Beatitude showed that the angels relate the humans to God, as they are reasonable beings, with mind, will and power, who do the will of God, and who help the humans to do the will of God.

“The angels are heavenly bodiless beings who often communicate with the humans to guide, orientate, help them, and rather often to protect them against troubles and dangers. This is why the angels are, in general, the guardians of the humans, as well as of the peoples, of the nations who believe in God. In the Holy Scriptures the heavenly powers are called in various places ‘lords, masters, beginners’. Based on the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Fathers of the Church noticed there are nine hosts of angels, but their number is very great, although divided in nine hosts. Saint Dionysus the Areopagite showed that these nine hosts are divided, in their turn, in three hosts, triads or hierarchies, the highest one, namely the closest triad to the Holy Trinity having been represented by Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones. The middle hierarchy consists of the Lords, Masters and Powers, and the third hierarchy, the lowest and closest to the humans is made by Beginners, Archangels and Angels”, His Beatitude said.

Then, the Primate of our Church said that the different ranks represent the degrees of holiness, shining, beauty, as well as various vocations or services. His Beatitude has also underlined that the angels are friends of God and of the humans and this is why we have a day for celebrating the angels, namely Monday.

Then, the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church congratulated those of the names of the Saints Archangels, and wished them good health, help of God, and to have the joy of feeling the help of the holy angels in their lives.

To end with the Divine Liturgy, the Primate of our Church congratulated the faithful for the efforts made for raising the new laboratory of Resurrection.

The works to the church dedicated to the “Birth of the Mother of God” and to the “Brancovean Saints Martyrs” began in 1997, supported both by faithful and by authorities. At the end all of them were awarded orders and diplomas on behalf of the Patriarch of Romania. Rev Petru Costa, archpriest of Deva and parish priest was awarded the Patriarchal Cross for his great endeavours. The Patriarch of Romania offered the church a blessing cross, several books, as well as an icon of Saint Constantine Brancoveanu with particles of his holy relics.

To end with, His Grace Bishop Gurie, the local hierarch thanked all those who contributed to the construction of the new church in Deva.

The Patriarch of Romania received an icon of the Mother of God on behalf of His Grace Bishop Gurie.