The Patriarch of Romania: “The icon shows the truth and the beauty of Orthodoxy” – March 2016

“Orthodoxy means witnessing God’s love, who became Human so that He could deify us, humans”, are the words of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, adressed to the faithful on the Sunday of Orthodoxy.   Patriarch Daniel officiated the Divine Liturgy, on the first Sunday of Lent, also called the Sunday of Orthodoxy, March 20th 2016, at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest, together with His Grace Varlaam of Ploieşti, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch, and His Grace Timotei of Prahova, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Bucharest, surrounded by an assembly of priests and deacons.   The theme the Gospel reading was dedicated to the victory of true faith on those who did not venerate icons and on all heresies.   In his sermon, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel pointed out that an icon is not a mere aesthetic adornment in the Church, but the expression of true faith.

„The icon is the witnessing of the faith that the Invisible God became visible, that the uncircumscribed God became circumscribed for us, humans, and for our salvation. The icon is not a mere aesthetic adornment in the Church, but the expression of true faith. He who does not believe in Christ’s incarnation does not accept the icon. Those religions that do not accept that God became Man out of love for humans reject any material representation of God. But we, because we have learned from the Apostles that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and they saw Him, touched Him with their hands and witnessed His Divinity, the memory of the Church is also a visual memory. Which we have heard, says St. John the Evangelist, which we have seen with our eyes and our hands have handled, this we declare concerning the Word of Life, Jesus Christ. So, we see here that the icon, as a depiction of God who became Man, is the witnessing of true faith”, His Beatitude confessed.

His Beatitude Daniel pointed out that the Sunday of Orthodoxy is commemorated during the Great Lent in order to show us that true faith also means true living. “On this Sunday, the Sunday of Orthodoxy, when we go out in procession with the holy icons, there are two inseparable lights shown to us by the saints and that they call us to witness: true faith and true living. That is, to witness faith that works through love, as Apostle Paul says: “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” No one can see God if he does not pursue for holiness and the first step in acquiring holiness is witnessing true faith. Today, we, the Orthodox Christian, celebrate the day of true faith, and true faith is beauty and joy, life and communion, to the glory of God and our salvation”   His Beatitude also said that Orthodoxy is our living relationship with Christ, with the Church of Christ.   During the Divine Liturgy, Archimandrite Paisie Teodorescu, Patriarchal Vicar, read the Pastoral Letter of the Holy Synod, on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, addressed to the clergy and the faithful. Next, the Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church ordained Father Ioan Dragomir, Patriarchal Adviser, an econome stavrophore.   At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Patriarch of Romania was congratulated on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the ordination as bishop, an event held on the Sunday of Orthodoxy in 1990.

On behalf of the hierarchs, members of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church and of the servant priests of the Patriarchal Cathedral, His Beatitude received an icon of our Saviour Jesus Christ, while on behalf of the staff of the Administrations of the Archdiocese of Bucharest and of the Romanian Patriarchate were offered flowers as a sign of gratitude for his sacred ministry.  On this occasion, His Beatitude thanked all the faithful, who pray daily for His health and salvation: „It is a joy when we feel how God’s grace helps us and it is a great joy when the faithful pray together with us and we pray together with them, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity and for our salvation.”   His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel was ordained bishop on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, March 4th 1990, at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Timisoara, by His Eminence Nestor, Metropolitan of Oltenia, His Eminence Nicolae, Metropolitan of Banat, and by the present Archbishop of Arad, His Eminence Timotei.    Also, after the Divine Liturgy in the Patriarchal Cathedral, the volume of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel was presented, The mission of the parish and the monastery today – The Ministry of the Church in the society in 2015, Published by Basilica Publishing House. The volume was presented by His Grace Varlaam  of  Ploieşti.