“Through the meditation on the texts of the Holy Scriptures we strengthen our own faith and open ourselves to the other confessions”. This assertion was made tonight, in the Patriarchal Cathedral, after the Vesper service, by His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania, at the beginning of the Week of Prayer for the Christian Unity.
“We are on the right way of presence together in order to represent the Christians’ vocation for unity and listen at the same time together to the interpretation of the texts of the Holy Scriptures which we all read and interpret from a confessional point of view for our communities. It is very well when we see that we have not only the text, but also many interpretations in common”, the Patriarch of Romania said.
The theme of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity of this year is inspired by the words of the Saviour addressed to the woman from Samaria: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water”(John 4:10).
The Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church pointed out in this regard, the fact that today’s Samaritans and the other people tend to come one to another.
“After we got our freedom, lots of foreigners came to our country and lots of Romanians went to other countries, so that we have had about four million of Romanians abroad during the last 10 or 15 years. This means a new experience for our Romanian Orthodox communities in countries where the Christians are not Orthodox in their majority. Thus, God calls us to learn to respect the culture and religion of the neighbours in the country in which we live, either at home, or in Diaspora”, His Beatitude said.
The representatives of the other Christian Churches of Bucharest attended the Vesper service celebrated by His Grace Timotei Prahoveanul, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Bucharest. Mr Victor Opaschi, state secretary for religious affairs was also present.
To end with, Pastor Daniel Zikeli, Assistant Bishop to the Lutheran Evangelical Church of Bucharest delivered a speech.
He said that the present edition of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity urges us to pass through Samaria, namely to open ourselves one to another and to the needs of the other people.
“The Christians of all confessions must get out of their religious home and go to the others, to those who are different, who have a different history, culture and spirituality. The urge of the Saviour to pass through Samaria shows us that we should not be isolated from those who are different, and relate only to those who are just like us. The Saviour addresses us all, as He is mysteriously present anywhere people long for Him like a stag for water.
Thus, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity can be considered an occasion of pilgrimage, a short period of the year when we can also look for Christ through the other ones in places with different religious traditions”.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will end on 26 January, in the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint Joseph”.
First, the idea of a week of prayer for Christian unity appeared in England, at the beginning of the 20th century. The purpose of these meetings is to establish rapprochement and good understanding among Christians.