On 1 January 2012, after celebrating the Divine Liturgy and the Te Deum in the Patriarchal Cathedral of Bucharest, His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church officially proclaimed the year 2012 as Homage Year of the Extreme Unction and looking after the sick in the Romanian Patriarchate.
The official document was read by rev. Patriarchal counsellor Nicolae Dima, director of the Trinitas Television station of the Romanian Patriarchate.
To end with, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel delivered a sermon in which he emphasised the importance of the Homage Year of the Extreme Unction and looking after the sick: “This proclamation of the Homage Year 2012 as Homage Year of the Extreme Unction and looking after the sick is a time of great missionary importance for us. Every year we deepen spiritually, theologically and practically one of the themes that the Church establishes for us to deal with. Last year our pastoral missionary and cultural Christian concerns were focused on the Christian family, namely on the Sacraments of the Baptism and of the Holy Matrimony. This year we focus on the Holy Sacrament of the Extreme Unction or the Sacrament for anointing the sick for healing.
Then, the Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church showed that the Church applied the Gospel of love of Christ by setting up nurseries, pharmacies and hospitals: “The Saints who understood the Gospel of Christ’s mercy have always urged faithful to examine the sick and help them. The Church set up, in the Romanian Countries, the first nurseries in the monasteries, the first pharmacies and hospitals implementing the Gospel of the love of Christ. Today, there are lots of sick persons in our country, both spiritually and physically. It is much suffering and many people in badly need of healing both spiritually and physically. The medicines are more and more expensive and the hospitals more difficult to be maintained and the people are very poor and lonely. If they are sick too, suffering is growing. We have more dispensaries in eparchies, even in some of the parishes. We have consulting rooms in which the Christians physicians give free consultations. Rather often these consulting rooms are organised in parishes. We have more dispensaries of the Church and a hospital we set up in Iasi in 2000, called the Providence, namely God’s care, which has, at present, over 120 physicians, and medical assistants. A centre of diagnosis and treatment will be built close to the new Cathedral for the sick pilgrims who come to Bucharest to be examined free of charge, and have their diagnosis settled, and the sick ones to be provided urgent treatment.
To end with, His Beatitude congratulated the priests in hospitals, the medical staff, as well as all the faithful who help the sick persons: “We wish good health to all the sick ones, the help of God and alleviation of the sufferance. We congratulate all the priests from hospitals, social centres or medical units for their care for the sick through the celebration of the Extreme Unction and reading the prayers for allaying the patients’ sufferance. We congratulate all the medical staff from medical units and old people’s homes and orphanages, as well as all the faithful, men and women too, who visit the patients and help them according to their abilities. We pray Christ, our Lord, to give us the joy of healing and to be the hands of His merciful love which allay the sufferance of the sick, bring hope and strengthen their faith”.