The Patriarch of Romania at 23 years of hierarchal service

On Monday, 4 March 2013, His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church celebrated 23 years since he was ordained hierarch. His Beatitude was ordained Bishop on 4 March 1990, on the Orthodoxy Sunday, in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Timişoara by His Eminence Nestor, Metropolitan of Oltenia, His Eminence Nicolae, Metropolitan of Banat, and His Eminence Timotei, Archbishop of Arad. Hundreds of inhabitants of Timişoara city, clergy, and laic too participated in the ordination of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel as hierarch.

His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel was ordained hierarch following his election by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church as Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Timişoara, with the title “Lugojanul”.

His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church was born on 22 July 1951, in Dobreşti village, commune of Bara, county of Timiş, as the third child to the family of teacher Alexie and Stela Ciobotea. He attended the primary school in his native village (1958 – 1962), Dobreşti, and gymnasium in Lăpişnic locality (1962 – 1966), county of Timiş. In 1966, he begins the secondary school courses in Buziaş city, which he would continue in Lugoj city, at “Coriolan Brediceanu” high school (1967 – 1970).

After passing the school leaving examination he becomes a student at the University Orthodox Institute of Sibiu (1970 – 1974), where he presents his graduation thesis in theology (New Testament).

From 1974 – 1976, he attends the post-graduate courses at the University Theological Institute of Bucharest, systematic section, under the supervision of Rev. Prof. Dr. Dumitru Stăniloae. He continues his studies abroad: two years at the Faculty of Protestant Theology of the University of Human Sciences at Strasbourg (France) and two years at the University of “Albert Ludwig” of Freiburg im Breisgau, Faculty of Catholic Theology (Germany).

On 15 June 1979, he delivers his doctorate thesis at the University of Strasbourg, entitled: “„Réflexion et vie chrétiennes aujourd’hui. Essai sur le rapport entre la théologie et la spiritualité” (424 pages). The thesis was prepared under the supervision of two outstanding French professors: Gerard Ziegwald and Andre Benoit and got the greatest mark. So, he becomes doctor of the University of Strasbourg.

He prepared a lengthy version of this thesis under the supervision of his mentor Rev. Prof. Dr. Dumitru Stăniloae and delivered it on 31 October 1980 at the University Theological Institute of Bucharest with the title: “Christian Theology And Spirituality. The Relations Between Them And The Present Situation”.

Having passed the oral examination and presented the thesis, candidate Dan-Ilie Ciobotea was declared Doctor in Orthodox theology, with the greatest mark too. Rev. Prof. Dr. Dumitru Stăniloae said on the occasion: “The thesis examination proved the board of examiners they have a well prepared candidate here, well informed, and most of all, willing to live a deep spiritual life. It is such people that we need, people willing to live in accordance with the teaching of our Church. The true spirituality of the priest is to live so as to be able to answer the questions of today’s man, and remain a true priest too. Priests with no theological culture and without living the sublime dignity and mission of priesthood can only move off the faithful people from the Church.”

In 1987, he takes the monastic vows at Sihăstria Monastery, county of Neamţ, with the name of Daniel, and Pious Father Archimandrite Cleopa Ilie as monastic Godfather. He is ordained hierodeacon on 14 August 1987 and hieromonk on 15 August 1987. In 1988, he becomes protosingelos and is appointed Patriarchal Counsellor, Director of the Department for “Contemporary Theology and Ecumenical Dialogue”. It is also in 1988 that he becomes a lecturer at the Chair for Christian Mission of the Orthodox University Theological Institute of Bucharest.

He is elected Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Timişoara with the title of Lugojanul and ordained hierarch on 4 March 1990. On 7 June 1990, he is elected Archbishop of Iaşi and Metropolitan of Moldova and Bucovina. The enthronement took place on 1 July 1990. From 1990 – 2008, he unfolded a rich pastoral-missionary, cultural and social-philanthropic activity as Metropolitan of Moldova and Bucovina.

On 12 September 2007, the Church Electoral College elected him Archbishop of Bucharest, Metropolitan of Muntenia and Dobrudgea, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church and Locum Tenens of the Throne of Caesarea of Cappadochia. The enthronement of His Beatitude Patriarch took place on Sunday, 30 September 2007, in the Patriarchal Cathedral of Bucharest.

On 30 September 2007, by the will and blessing of God, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel was enthroned in the Patriarchal Cathedral as the 6th Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Having thought at the time that: “God called us to this very difficult service” because “it is for the welfare of the Church that we should serve together with the Holy Synod and with all the clergy of the country…”, His Beatitude came from Iaşi to Bucharest wishing to serve in time and no time in the Romanian Orthodox Church, inspired by the divine imperative mentioned by Saint Evangelist Matthew: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16)

Endowed by God with many gifts, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel established the priorities of the church life, recreated the administrative system as an efficient instrument for their implementation, set up institutions able to bring about renewals in the Romanian ecclesiastic space, chose competent devoted people with whom succeeded, with much effort and by God’s grace, in implementing or working out major projects designed to increase the service of the Church in society.

The new Statutes of the Romanian Orthodox Church, beginning the construction of the Cathedral for the Nation’s Salvation, raising many eparchies in rank, setting up new eparchies in the country and abroad, election of new hierarchs, canonization of some new Romanian saints, canonical and pastoral-missionaries visits in the country and Diaspora, stimulating the theological education to ecclesiastic and cultural mission, recuperation, conservation and valuing of the religious patrimony, intensification as never before of the printing and publishing activity, increasing of the social – charitable or philanthropic mission, as well as the publicizing the church life through Basilica Press Centre of the Romanian Patriarchate, missionary cooperation with the sister Orthodox Churches, good relations with other religions, with Christian organizations and international institutions, are only a few examples of the large patriarchal activity, examples that prove in fact the efforts of His Beatitude to establish the priorities of the Romanian Orthodox Church according to pastoral, missionary and social criteria.

In conclusion, continuity and renewal are the ideas that best characterize the activity of the Romanian Orthodox Church from 2007 till today.