After praying together at the Patriarchal Cathedral on Sunday, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel welcomed the representatives of the branches of the Romanian Orthodox Christian Students Association (ASCOR) at the Patriarchal Residence.
Being informed about the agenda set by ASCOR members at their national meeting on Saturday, the Patriarch of Romania appreciated their desire to complete this year the actions cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, including the publication of an album and an anniversary volume, but also an exhibition of icons or national retreats. A festive event dedicated to the Great Celebration at Putna and several collaborations with young Romanians abroad are also expected to take place this year.
At the ASCOR National Council meeting, 17 of the 18 branch chairpersons were present on Saturday.
“We congratulate you and, in particular, thank you for the activities you carry out: cultural, educational, missionary activities in general and, in particular, for the blood donation campaigns that we understand will continue.”
Blood donation campaigns will become a constant in ASCOR’s activity, being organized twice a year at a national level in March and November.
“It is an activity initiated by the Romanian Patriarchate, then spread in different dioceses,” His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel recalled. “Through this, we come to the aid of those who suffer and to the support of medical units.”
His Beatitude stressed that “during the pandemic, the Church helped our medical units in the country a lot, not only with prayer, but also with action: with substantial sums of money, food, and necessary medical supplies. And this shows that we need to value the gift of health and life as gifts from God, but also as our responsibility to preserve and cultivate the gift of health and life.”
“It is good to show this social part in addition to the spiritual part, but, first of all, we emphasize the spiritual experience and formation,” His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel noted.
“The Saviour Jesus Christ preached the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven for a whole day, and only towards the end did He work the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Because if He started with that, they would no longer listen to the sermon,” said the Patriarch smiling.
“That is why we also come to church without eating, in a state of fasting, to feed ourselves first with the spiritual things” His Beatitude explained April 4.
“This is the joy,” said the Romanian Patriarch at the end of the meeting, “that you are present here, that you have met. We hope that this pandemic will diminish and that we will return to the times when travel will be easier and there will be more activities.”
Patriarch Daniel appreciated the progress of ASCOR and its activity during the pandemic and told them that there is a need for an increasing “communication and communion between branches.”
“We congratulate you and wish you much help from God in your daily work, but also this missionary cooperation and communion.”
The Patriarch of Romania bestowed church distinctions to the ASCOR branches chairpersons.
Photography courtesy of Lumina Newspaper / Mihnea Păduraru