On 12th October 2012, His Beatitude Daniel, Archbishop of Bucharest, Metropolitan of Munteniei and Dobrudgea, Locum Tenens of the Throne of Caesarea of Cappadocchia and Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, received, in the Patriarchal Cathedral, His Beatitude Hristofor, Archbishop of Prague and Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.
His Beatitude Hristofor was met at Otopeni Airport around 12.00 o’clock, by His Grace Ciprian Campineanul, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch, as delegate of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
At 13.00 hours, a Polichronion service was celebrated in the Patriarchal Cathedral of Bucharest, in the presence of the two Primates of Churches, followed by the welcome speech of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel and by that of His Beatitude Primate Hristofor.
To start with his speech, the Patriarch of Romania welcomed His Beatitude Hristofor pointing out the good relations between the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia: “Your Beatitude Metropolitan Hristofor, we welcome you on this official visit to the Romanian Patriarchate. You have been several times in Romania, you visited our country while a bishop and you have visited several parts of Romania several times, even since you have been Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, but rather on missionary visits, not on an official one. (…) The sister Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, which although not a big Church from the point of view of the number of faithful, is a confessing missionary Church, a dynamic Church headed now by a Primate well known in all the Orthodox world”.
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel thanked for the care that His Beatitude Hristofor takes of the Romanians in the Czech Lands.
“We are very glad because you show special care to the Orthodox Romanians who are in your country and because you blessed the setting up of a Romanian Orthodox parish under the jurisdiction of Your Beatitude, but in spiritual relationship with the Romanian Orthodox Church. We are glad because the number of the Orthodox faithful in the Czech Lands and Slovakia increased due to the immigrants or Orthodox people coming from other countries to work and study in the Czech Republic. The Church of the Czech Republic and Slovakia was small so far, but now it is doubled, if not more, through this presence of the Orthodox from Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, so that all the other sister Orthodox Churches enjoy the fact that you receive the other Orthodox faithful with much fatherly love”.
The relationship between the Church headed by His Beatitude Hristofor and the Romanian Patriarchate are very close, so that even last year the Primates of the two Churches met at Most, Czech Republic, where they consecrated the Romanian Orthodox church raised in the memory of the Romanian heroes who sacrificed themselves for the liberation of Czech Lands and Slovakia. The Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church recalled the moment of the consecration of the church of Most – Czech Republic – and explained that this visit is one of co-operation both from a missionary and from a pastoral point of view: so, we think that the visit of Your Beatitude is not only a formal one, but a visit of missionary co-operation. Thus, we think that this co-operation between the sister Orthodox Churches from a pastoral and missionary point of view is a must, not a fashion, and this is why we are grateful.”
At the same time, the Patriarch of Romania expressed his joy occasioned by the presence of His Beatitude Hristofor at the celebration of the greatest saint patron in the Romanian territory.
“We are glad that you are present here and you have the opportunity to meet again hierarchs and clergy you already know. We also mention that our joy is increased by the fact that we go together to the celebration of the greatest saint patron in the Romanian territory, the saint patron of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Iasi where I served for 18 years and I felt the devotion of the faithful, and which has become international during the last 20 years. We shall meet there hierarchs from Ukraine because we celebrate 370 years since the Orthodox Synod of 1642 held in Iasi when the confession of faith of Petru Movila was defined. So, it is a joy to remember Petru Movila too, who helped the Slavonic Churches, especially in Poland. He was of Romanian origin, a gift of the Romanian Orthodox Church for Ukraine, just as Saint Paisie Velicicovski was a gift of Ukraine for the Romanian Orthodox Church. God makes exchanges of gifts through His saints”, the Patriarch of Romania said.
In his speech, His Beatitude Hristofor, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia thanked the Patriarch of Romania for invitation and for the nice words addressed and emphasised the fruitfulness of the relationship between the two Churches implemented in the missionary field.
“Your Beatitude, thank you very much for the invitation extended and for the nice words you have just said about our history and about our relations of friendship and fraternity. I almost have nothing to add to what Your Beatitude said. You said them so nicely and you spoke with so much conviction about these true things that I only dare underline that our relations have been so many and fruitful in the missionary field of late that my heart is full of joy”, His Beatitude Hristofor said.
His Beatitude Hristofor has also expressed his admiration for the Patriarch of Romania and for all the Romanian people.
“You know very well that I admire you personally, just as I admire the entire Romanian people. Due to Your Beatitude the Czech people have recently learned about the fact that Orthodoxy means Romania too. And they have also learned that Romania is the second great Church in the world from the point of view of the number of faithful. We know that here, in the Capital city of the country, just like in all the great cities of the country, the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants are Christians and Orthodox”, His Beatitude said.
Then, His Beatitude Hristofor, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia presented the situation of the Church in the Czech Lands. To end with his speech, His Beatitude Hristofor showed the importance of the intensification of the communion among Church through the communion of the saints and thanked His Beatitude Daniel for the invitation to participate in the celebration of the feast of Saint Parascheva.
“This year we have an event to celebrate, namely 1150 years since Saint Basil Rostislav invited brothers Kyril and Methodius to preach the Gospel in Moravia. He died a martyr’s death for having preached the faith in Christ. This is why we humbly dared to bring small icons of Saint Basil Rotislav to be offered to the faithful because we must intensify even more the communion between us through the communion of the saints. Thank you once again for having invited me to attend together with Your Beatitude the great feast of Iasi city, Saint Pious Parascheva and we also thank for this beautiful reception in the Patriarchal Cathedral”.
Today too, at 17.00 hours, His Beatitude Hristofor, Archbishop of Prague and Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, visited the Patriarchate Palace accompanied by His Grace Ciprian Campineanul, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch.
Tonight, the two Primates will leave for Iasi, where they will participate in the celebration of the feast of Saint Pious Parascheva.