“The priorities are multiple, but, first of all, we must think about the spiritual life,” is the thought with which Patriarch Daniel came to the leadership of the Romanian Orthodox Church, a moment he already fulfilled 17 years of episcopal ministry.
We mark today 31 years since Fr Daniel Ciobotea was ordained to the episcopate at the Cathedral of Timisoara. His Beatitude became then an assistant bishop to the Archdiocese of Timisoara with the title Bishop of Lugoj. He served in this dignity for only three months, being then elected Metropolitan of Moldavia and Bukovina.
“We must not separate the Liturgy from philanthropy and philanthropy from Liturgy, or the social work from the spiritual life,” Patriarch Daniel insisted many times.
“If we develop a social work without spiritual support, we risk secularizing ourselves, although the intention of the social work is a positive one,” His Beatitude said.
Under His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel’s leadership, the Church has invested over 200 million euros in philanthropy. It mobilized considerable efforts in building and renovating places of worship, in religious books, in theological schools, formation, education and catechesis.
The spiritual, unseen, unquantifiable life is the engine that set in motion and continually maintains all these initiatives for God’s glory and the profit of others. Evidence of this experience is always visible in the theology often expressed in the Romanian Patriarch’s sermons, in the contribution of His Beatitude to the Holy and Great Council, especially in the words of encouragement he addressed during the last year’s difficult period.
“This is the only way we will go on a safe line because it is verified by the Holy Tradition of the Holy Fathers who, to this day, have shown us that if we think the spiritual and material things together, we bless God both in spirit and matter.”- Patriarch Daniel
Patriarch Daniel was born in 1951 in the village of Dobrești, Bara commune, Timiș County, being the third child in the family of teacher Alexie and Stela Ciobotea.
After graduating with a doctorate in theology under Father Dumitru Stăniloae’s supervision in Bucharest and then under the guidance of two renowned French professors in Strasbourg, Dan Ilie Ciobotea entered monasticism under the name of Daniel at the age of 36. He embraced the monastic life in 1987 at Sihăstria Monastery, having Elder Cleopas Ilie as his monastic godparent.
As Metropolitan of Moldavia and Bukovina, he had numerous successful initiatives pastorally, administratively and academically. Of note are the efforts to consolidate and restore the Metropolitan Cathedral of Iasi and establish the Providence Diagnosis and Treatment Centre. In 2008, the centre became the first hospital established by the Romanian Orthodox Church with a structure approved by the Ministry of Health of 102 beds.
Since September 2007, he has been the Patriarch of Romania.
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro