Patriarch of Romania at the Dedication Day of Cotroceni Palace Church

On 7 October 2014, His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church was in the middle of the faithful of the church in the precincts of Cotroceni Palace which celebrated its second dedication day, Saints Martyrs Serghie and Vah.

To end with the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel delivered a sermon in which he spoke about the life and martyrdom of Saints Martyrs Serghie and Vah: “They lived at the end of the 3rd century and beginning of the 4th. They were of Roman origin and great officials in the army of the emperor. They were appreciated and admired for their bravery, but they were denounced they were Christians in secret, and that they venerated Christ. When hearing that, the emperor called and invited them to go with him to bring offerings to Zeus’ temple. The emperor went into the temple, but they remained outside. Then, the emperor had them in by force to pray to the idols. They answered “We have a God in heaven who is not a liar, who is true and alive. He is not indifferent like your idols. We pray to Him”. Thus, because they refused to deny their faith in Christ they were dressed in women’s clothes, put in chains and taken into the streets as mockery. They were both beaten and Vah died because of that. Saint Serghie was put iron boots with nails in the soles and taken all through Resafa city where he was beheaded after much torture.

As for the history of the church in the interior courtyard of Cotroceni Palace, His Beatitude Daniel said: “The foundation stone was laid by the pious and erudite prince Serban Cantacuzino during the first year of his reign – 1678. Built on the place of an old skete dedicated to Saints Martyrs Serghie and Vah as thanksgiving to God for the help the prince personally received in times of trouble and persecution, the church was finished in 1682. In the course of time, here was the residence of the Ruling Prince of Wallachia, so that the church was always bedecked and endowed according to its statutes of princely church. Just like its spiritual protectors, Saints Martyrs Serghie and Vah, Cotroceni church monastery passed through many painful and damaging trials in the course of time. It passed through several earthquakes (in 1738, 1802, 1940, 1977), wars, foreign invasions and fires (in 1718 and 1787). Crossing the history, Cotroceni church monastery resisted all the hostilities of time till 1947, when once the communist atheist dictatorship installed the church of Cotroceni Palace was closed forever for the liturgical rite. Neglected and abandoned for 30 years, the church suffered serious damages at the earthquake of 1977. Moreover, in 1984, the church was killed through demolition and it laid dead for almost 20 years (1984 – 2003/2004) (…) From 2000 – 2003/2004, through the good will of Mr Ion Iliescu, President of Romania at the time, the church was partially reconstructed, namely the porch and the nave, as a “Memorial”, where the remains of its founder were buried, Prince Serban Cantracuzino, with the blessing of the worthy remembering our father Patriarch Teoctist, personally present at the event, on 17 September 2004. From 2008 – 2009, at the initiative and with the insistence of Mr Traian Basescu, the present President of Romania, the church was entirely reconstructed and endowed with everything necessary for the rite, to be commemorated here “its blessed founders”, as well as for celebrating the religious services meeting the spiritual needs of the personnel employed in the Presidential Administration, and of the Orthodox faithful in this part of the world”.

The Patriarch of Romania congratulated all those who support the pastoral activity of this place of worship: “Today, at the feast of Saints Martyrs Serghie and Vah, when we celebrate five years since the consecration of the church, we remember with veneration the founders of the old monastery, princes, hierarchs, princes and faithful of the right faith, as well as the founders, benefactors and faithful of the new church, enlightened by faith and piety, generosity and love of nations, for the glory of God and the welfare of the Romanian people”.

To end with the event, His Beatitude offered Rev Archimandrite Irineu Dogaru a blessing cross made at the Workshops of the Romanian Patriarchate, and several books of rite for the holy place of worship. Rev archimandrite Irineu Dogaru offered, in his turn, His Beatitude a desk cross, an anniversary plaque and a bunch of flowers.

Mrs Maria Basescu, wife of the President of Romania, and Mrs Adina Rentea, director of Cotroceni National Museum attended the Divine Liturgy and received with the blessing of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel, an icon of the Mother of God, a plaque to remind the five years passed since the consecration of the holy place of worship, and a bunch of flowers, on behalf of archimandrite Irineu Dogaru.

To end with the religious event dedicated to the celebration of the saints patrons of the church, the servant priests celebrated the solemn service for the founders of this place of worship in the precincts of Cotroceni Palace. The liturgical answers were given by “Evloghia” psaltic group conducted by Rev Stelian Marius Militaru.