In a message for the Sunday of Parents and Children (June 7), Patriarch Daniel emphasizes the fundamental role that the family played during the coronavirus pandemic. His Beatitude called the family “a natural environment for raising and educating children for life.”
“During this period, the time spent by parents with their children was greatly appreciated, as well as the effort to help them in carrying out various online school tasks,” notes His Beatitude.
The Patriarch of Romania also draws attention to the fact that the personality and character of children “are formed not only by words and advice but also by the life and example of parents,” for which “parents are called to live the true faith through prayer and good works,” and to cultivate “love and generosity in the family, in the image of the merciful love of the Most Holy Trinity, so that the family may always be a source of love and joy for children.”
Please find below the full text of the message.
Christian Family – Icon of God’s Love in the World: full text
The Sunday of Parents and Children, the first Sunday after the International Children’s Day (June 1), established by the Holy Synod of our Church by resolution no. 629/12 March 2009, coincides this year with the feast of Pentecost.
Pentecost is the founding day of Christ’s Church as a congregation of people in the love of the Most Holy Trinity through the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. As the Holy Spirit overshadowed the Virgin Mary and united in the Person of our Saviour Jesus Christ His divine and human natures (Luke 1:35), the same way He now unites through grace different people and nations, who profess the same right and holy faith.
The growth or extension of Christ’s Church is achieved with every newly baptized person in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, beginning with Pentecost day when ‘about three thousand souls’ (Acts 2:41) were baptized in Jerusalem and until the end of ages.
Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we get to know the love of the Most Holy Trinity as present and active in the life of the Church. Father Dumitru Staniloae called the Holy Trinity the structure of supreme love, that is, perfect love that exists eternally between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
This perfect and eternal love of the Most Holy Trinity is a source and model of love and harmony for Church life, family and society. Notably, the Christian family is called to be an icon of God’s love in the world. That is why, Saint John Chrysostom called the Christian family a domestic church, where conjugal, paternal, filial and brotherly love is cultivated.
With the help of parents, the child begins to feel God’s love and to cultivate the love for others around. In the context of current pandemic, the primordial importance of the family as a natural environment for raising and educating children for life was highlighted more intensely. During this period, the time spent by parents with their children was much appreciated, as well as the effort to help them in fulfilling various online school tasks.
The character of children is formed not only by words and advice but also by the lifestyle and example of parents. In this sense, parents are called to live the true faith, through prayer and good works, and to cultivate love and generosity in the family, in the image of the merciful love of the Most Holy Trinity, so that the family may always be a source of love and joy for children.
At the same time, parents are urged to protect life from birth and to teach children to value health as a gift from God to grow in communion with family and other children.
The year 2020 was declared by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church as a Solemn Year of the pastoral care of parents and children. Through this initiative, we wanted to point out the importance of Christian education in contemporary society.
In a world deeply marked by individualism and secularization, the Family, the Church and the School are called today to provide children with the help necessary for their personal and communal development, to cultivate the freedom, responsibility and dignity of children, because they are God’s gift for family and humankind.
We pray to the Most Holy Trinity, the Source of life and eternal love, to enlighten and fill the souls of parents and children with peace and joy, to become a blessing for the Church and the Romanian people.
Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Mircea Florescu.