The Orthodox Icon, the Light of Orthodoxy

Romanian Church – 24/3/13

Saturday and Sunday the religious – cultural manifestation entitled “The Icon – Window to God” which marks the celebration of the Orthodoxy Sunday was held at the Icon church of Bucharest. This year the faithful who attended the feast had the opportunity to venerate the icon of the Mother of God with the Infant brought from Namaiesti Monastery of Arges county to Bucharest with the blessing of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church and of His Eminence Calinic, Archbishop of Arges and Muscel.

The celebration programme of the Orthodoxy Sunday began at the Icon Church of Bucharest on Saturday evening, at 17.00 hours, when His Grace Varsanufie Prahoveanul, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Bucharest celebrated the Vesper service in the place of worship, assisted by a group of servant priests – according to “Lumina” newspaper. To end with the evening prayer, the “Orthodoxy Light” procession followed with the participation of over 70 priests of the parishes of Deanery II Bucharest, candles in their hands.

The streets were lighted by torches, candles and icon lamps

Besides His Grace Varsanufie Prahoveanul, Rev. Ioan Iordache, administrative vicar to the Archdiocese of Bucharest, rev. archimandrite Timotei Aioanei, great ecclesiarch of the Patriarchal Cathedral and cultural exarch to the Archdiocese of Bucharest, rev. Archimandrite Veniamin Goreanu, administrative counsellor to the Archdiocese of Bucharest, rev. Archpriest Ioan Radulescu, from Deanery II Bucharest, parish priest Ion Popescu from the Icon church, rev. Prof. Nicolae Necula, other priests and deacons were also present, as well as a group of nuns from Namaiesti Monastery, headed by abbess Lucia Nedelea. The servant priests were followed in this procession from the Icon church to the Icon Park by a large number of faithful of Bucharest burning candles and torches, icon lamps and icons in their hands, who sang religious chants together with the group of singers and servant priests of the Icon parish: “God is with us”, “Lord of the powers:, as well as the Orthodoxy troparion entitled “Blessed are You, Christ, our Lord!” The procession was embellished through the participation of over 200 employees of the local Police of District 2 of Bucharest, full dressed in uniforms of the time and modern too, and of the volunteers of the Civic Guards of the same district burning torches in their hands. When night came the light procession left from the Icon church to the Icon Park, stopped on the way and said prayers and special requests.

Choral concert in the Icon Park

The procession ended in the park, where all those present listened to a concert of religious chants typical for the Lent, as well as to the Orthodoxy Sunday, performed by “Divine Harmony” chorus of “Saint George – the New” church of Bucharest. His Grace Varsanufie Prahoveanul delivered a sermon on the history of the icon of Namaiesti and on the veneration of the holy icons too.

Sunday, 24 March, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Icon church by His Grace Varsanufie Prahoveanul, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Bucharest, assisted by a group of priests. His Grace read the Pastoral letter of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church on the Orthodoxy Sunday entitled “The Icons – spiritual sight of the beauty of the Scriptures”. After the Divine Liturgy, at 12.00 hours, the clergy and faithful participating went to “Icon Garden” park where they met the Orthodox Christians from the other parishes of Bucharest, participating together in the pilgrimage named “the Icon – Window to God”.

The Holy Cross, and the church banners headed the procession, and then the big icons from Namaiesti Monastery and from the icon church followed, as well as the icons from other parishes from Deanery II Bucharest. After the religious insignia the group of priests followed headed by His Grace Assistant Bishop Varsanufie Prahoveanul, together with the representatives of the local authorities, among whom Neculai Ontanu, mayor of district 2, people of culture and artists, as well as lots of faithful icons, holy crosses and candles in their hands. The park was surrounded just like the previous night the faithful stopping and saying litanies. To end with the litany, a festive moment was held on a scene specially arranged in the Icon Park.

His Grace Varsanufie Prahoveanul showed in the sermon delivered that the people who participate in such a pilgrimage manifest a community and communion faith because they inform their dear ones of this event and are glad when they do not come alone, but with relatives and friends. “The cultural-religious events we attended these days put us in the position of the two apostles, Filip and Nathanael, and took us to see what we hoped for. God called us to faith just like He did with Filip, urging us to follow Him, and we accepted this call expressing it in the symbolic act of pilgrimage. Those who felt the inner call invited their dear ones who joined the procession increasing this holy work. The pilgrimage is a holy work because it gathers people of various kinds in deed and prayer” His Grace said.

Parish priest Ion Popescu thanked those who helped with prayers and deeds and participated in the two processions.

To end with, after the symbol of faith of the Creed was said, His Grace Varsanufie Prahoveanul celebrated a religious service for consecrating the icons of the faithful, and the priests blessed all those present with the holy water splashed.