National Symposium on Christian Pedagogy held in Bucharest

Church of Romania – April-May 2015

On 28 April 2015, the session of the national symposium of Christian Pedagogy on the theme “Landmarks of Christian Education in the Theology of Saint John Chrysostom, Updated in the Relationship Church – Family – School in the Contemporary Context” began at the “Dumitru Staniloae” national centre for continuous formation of Bucharest, and lasted until 29 April.   During the festive opening session of the symposium His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church addressed a blessing speech entitled “The Light of Education Promoted in the Cooperation between Church, Family and School”, in which he underlined the importance of the religious education in the formation of the youth: “The value of education, both in the Family and in the Church and School, has relevance for history and even for eternity, to the extent to which it is cultivated with openness for getting eternal life and happiness in the eternal love of God.

In the present context of an excessive informational and technologic society, there is the risk to reduce the education to a process in which the accent is put almost exclusively on getting performable information needed     for getting competence and ability, so that the young person should be easy integrated and certain of a system of immediate practical efficiency, but more and more impersonal. Just in such a situation the valuing of the formative specific character of the religious education is relevant and the confirmation of the act that a Christian education cannot be structured in a limited temporary ken, but in the light of the eternal love of Christ: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

The event was moderated by His Grace Varlaam Ploiesteanul, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch, with the participation of the President of the Romanian Academy, Mr Academician Ionel Valentin Vlad; State Secretary for Religious Affairs, Mr Victor Opaschi; Rector of the University of Bucharest, Univ Prof Dr Mircea Dumitru; Rev Dean of “Patriarch Justinian” Faculty of Theology of Bucharest, Rev Univ Prof Dr Stefan Buchiu.   The President of the Romanian Academy Ionel Valentin Vlad took turns in saying that the great personalities were born only in solid united families: “The Academy pays great heed to family and school. One of the basic inter-disciplinary programmes in the strategy the Academy is working out is school and education and I assure you that Christian education is one of the points we shall introduce in this point of view of the Romanian Academy.

Only the solid united families, with love for Church and country could give people of culture and science mentioned later on in the thoughts of the Romanian Academy. Some of them were the great people of the Romanian school like Spiru Haret, Titu Maiorescu, Constantin Angelescu and others who harmoniously combined, through everything they did, ancient faith with love for knowledge and education.”   Then, Mr Victor Opaschi, State Secretary for Religious Affairs delivered his message: “I repeatedly noticed during the last few years, especially as State Secretary for Religious Affairs, the willingness of the Orthodox Church and of the religious cults, in general, to assume an important role in the process of education. I noticed that many speakers of this symposium will focus, especially on the first day, on the issue of Religion in the public system of education. I would be very glad to learn that such an event will also approach the other dimensions of the involvement of the Church in the process of education through the after-school programmes, through the courses and programmes of formation, not only for children, but also for adults, through the organisation of cultural and artistic events, and through various forms of informal education developed through the Christian parishes, associations and foundations. I think as important is to make them known and recognised as they are, part of the system of education in its ensemble and a direct contribution of the religious cults and of their faithful in the construction of the common welfare.”

Counsellor Romeo Mosoiu delivered a message on behalf of the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research, in which he said: “The national symposium of Christian pedagogy which is taking place these days is an occasion of joy in the context of the period we pass through, both form a social and educational point of view, and from a spiritual one after the Paschal feast. The thematic approach of education is a need of the present space of communication in this field. As regards religious education, its presence in school is sustained not only from the theoretical pedagogical perspective, but also from practical points of view.

We are living is a more and more pragmatic and desecrated society. In this society of the eternal here and now, with no ken, no future, the person is invited to be freer and freer, to live his/her spirituality, but without a basis of knowledge and with no opportunities of learning provided in the period they take place in, in fact, most important acquisitions, namely the formation of some abilities, as well as attitudes and of a set of values to guide the person in his/her lifetime in the moral decision taking. The elementary and deep knowing of the landmarks of Christian Orthodox spirituality through the Christian pedagogy, as well as the formation of the spiritual – moral profile of the pupil in view of assuming and adopting certain types of behaviour axiologically guided become educational needs to which the Religion class answers.”

The lectures delivered on the first day were included in three categories: the educational role of the family in the contemporary society; importance of the religious education in school, for the contemporary society; education in the life and mission of the Church.

Here are some of the speakers of the first day: sociologist Ilie Badescu, Institute of Sociology of the Romanian Academy; rev prof Stefan Buchiu, dean of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of Bucharest, Liana Stanciu, president of the “Parents for the Religion Class” Association; prof Constantin Cucos, Faculty of Psychology and Sciences of Education from Iasi; Adrian Lemeni, patriarchal counsellor and lecturer at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of Bucharest of Bucharest, and others. During the discussions, rev prof Vasile Raduca from the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of Bucharest and lecturer Constantin Necula from the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of Sibiu made important interventions – as “Lumina” newspaper informs.

The national symposium of Christian pedagogy is organised with the blessing of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, by the Theological Educational Department of the Romanian Patriarchate in partnership with the State Secretariat for Religious Affairs and the “Patriarch Justinian” Faculty of Orthodox Theology of Bucharest.

The event closed on 29 April 215, with a visit to the Chapel of the Cathedral for the Nation’s Salvation and praying to the relics of Saint John Chrysostom.