On Monday, 3 June 2013, the first session of the spring semestral pastoral – missionary Conference of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Bucharest was held in the “Patriarch Teoctist” Aula Magna of the Patriarchate Palace, on the theme Saints Constantine and Helen – promoters of the religious freedom and supporters of the Church. The conference was chaired by His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Over 800 clergy of the deaneries 1, 2 and 3 Bucharest, North Ilfov and South Ilfov participated in this conference together with the exarchs, abbots, abbesses and priests of charity of Bucharest and county of Ilfov.
To start with the event, the Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church addressed a sermon to those present entitled “Saints Emperors Constantine and Helen – prototypes of the lay, political and social Christian discipleship” in which he explained, among other things, the fact that “In the Orthodox iconography, Saints Emperors Constantine and Helen have the Holy Cross between them because Saint Constantine discovered the Cross in the sky and Saint Helen in the earth. Thus, their icon conveys a spiritual meaning, namely that the Holy Cross, the sign of the sacrificial love of the incarnated Son of God, mysteriously links the heaven and the earth, the invisible world to the visible one, the intelligible and the sensible ones, in the eternal infinite love of the Most Holy Trinity. Saints Emperors Constantine and Helen understood, in the light of this type of divine wisdom, that according to the model and with the power of Christ, the sacrificial love for the welfare of the many people is the flame and power of the Christian mission in the world. Given the high position they hold, they are missionary servants of Christ for the welfare of His Church, ridding the Christians of persecution, defending the right faith and unity of the Church, building Christian places of worship in various parts of the Empire: three churches in Rome, one in Trier (Germany), several churches in Constantinople, one in Nicomidia, two in Jerusalem (of the Resurrection and of the Ascension), one in Bethlehem (of the Nativity of the Lord), as well as an octagonal one in Antioch.
Then, the meeting continued with the following essays:
-Rev. Prof. Dr. Viorel Ioniţă – “Edict of Milan (313) – tolerance and freedom for the Christian Church”;
-Rev. Prof.Dr. Emanoil Băbuş – “Christianity in the context of Constantine’s religious politics from 324 – 337”;
-Rev. Lecturer Dr. Daniel Benga – “Constantine the Great and the Nicene symbol of faith (325)”;
-Rev. Prof. Dr. Adrian Gabor – “Aspects of Constantine’s legislation concerning the moral-social state and social assistance of the Church”;
-Rev. Prof. Dr. Constantin Pătuleanu – “Topical character of the religious politics of the Saints Emperors Constantine and Helen. Religious freedom today”;
-Rev. Prof. Dr. Nicolae Necula – “Development of the liturgical life in the time of Saints Emperors Constantine and Helen”;
-Archimandrite Dr. Veniamin Goreanu – “Church legislation in the time of Saint Constantine the Great (Synods of: Ancira (314), Neo-Caesarea (314/315), Ecumenical Synod I (325);
-Archimandrite Timotei Aioanei – “Devotion and veneration of the Saints Emperors Constantine and Helen by the Church”;
-Archimandrite Dr. Policarp Chiţulescu – “Representations of the Saints Emperors Constantine and Helen in the old Romanian printings. Texts and images”.
The conference was preceded by the celebration of the Divine Liturgy of the Te Deum service. His Grace Varsanufie Prahoveanul, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Bucharest celebrated the Divine Liturgy and the Te Deum assisted by a group of priests and deacons, in the church of Saint Spiridon the New, at 8.00 o’clock.
On this occasion, the book entitled Saints Emperors Constantine and Helen – promoters of the religious freedom and supporters of the Church was launched, which renders the complete version of the essays delivered within the Conference.
To end with the Conference, each participant received a copy of the book mentioned as a present on behalf of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel.
The meeting of the priests and deacons of the Deaneries of Ploieşti, Câmpina, Vălenii de Munte and Urlaţi, of the local exarches, abbots, abbesses and clergy of charity of Prahova county will take place in Paul Constantinescu Philharmonic Hall of Ploieşti, at 10.00 hours, 6 June 2013.