Over 3,000 young people from all over the world attended Thursday the opening ceremony of this year’s International Meeting of Orthodox Youth (ITO 2018) taking place in Sibiu.
The ceremony included the presentation of each delegation under the name of ‘Flags’ parade’ in the presence of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania, Metropolitan Laurentiu of Transylvania, numerous hierarchs, clergymen, state and local officials.
The ITO 2018 opening ceremony was live broadcast by the Romanian Patriarchate’s Trinitas TV station.
At the conclusion of the Flags’ Parade, His Grace Bishop Andrei of Covasna and Harghita officiated a Doxology (Te Deum).
”Welcome to Sibiu,
the capital city of Transylvanian Orthodoxy!
† Metropolitan Laurențiu
The first hierarch addressing the young people was the Metropolitan of Transylvania.
His Eminence said that the fifth edition of the International Meeting of Orthodox Youth at Sibiu is a great honour and spiritual fulfilment, and welcomed everyone to the capital city of Transylvanian Orthodoxy.
In his speech, the Metropolitan pointed to the sacrifice of Romanian heroes upon which ‘today’s Romania, our freedom and national dignity have been edified.’
”You are apostles of freedom, unity, and communion
† Patriarch Daniel
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel conveyed his patriarchal address entitled ‘Faith in God and love of nation have supported the struggle for national unity’.
The Patriarch noted that ‘it is particularly significant that in the Romanian Orthodox Church these international assemblies of young Orthodox Christians take place in communion of faith, prayer and singing, in dialogue and fellowship, at the beginning of the Ecclesiastical New Year, which calls us to sanctify the time of our earthly life as a time of salvation.’
In his message, the Patriarch stressed the three values included in ITO 2018’s theme: unity, faith, and nation.
‘Beloved young Orthodox Christians from Romania and other countries, you are apostles or missionaries of freedom and of ethnic or national unity, but also of the communion between ethnic groups and cooperation among peoples when you cultivate generous love in the family, in friendship, in parish, in the diocese, in society, and in all national and international Orthodox meetings, for the joy of the entire Orthodoxy and the communion among the peoples of the world.’
‘This year, we invite all of you to Bucharest, on November 25, at the consecration ceremony of the National Cathedral,’ Patriarch Daniel said ending his speech.
”You mark the common vocation of solidarity
and openness to others
State Secretary Victor Opaschi
Present at the event was the State Secretary for Religious Affairs Victor Opaschi who congratulated the organizers of the Meeting.
‘I would like to thank you, all the young participants in these meetings, who, with your energy, enthusiasm and joy of being both together symbolically and very practically express the common vocation of solidarity and openness towards others, which the faith plants in the human heart,’ the State Secretary for Religious Affairs said Sept. 6, 2018.
Mayor Astrid Fodor said that Sibiu’s City Council is honoured to support such an event.
The Mayor said that Sibiu is a city that offers the proper atmosphere for this meeting of Orthodox youth.
The ceremony was followed by an artistic performance held by the Anatoly vocal group in Brasov, the Children Choir of Iresti-Vrancea Parish, the male choir of the St Andrew Saguna Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Sibiu, the Concertino Children Choir in Gura Raului, Marcel Pavel, Vlad Mirita, Iordache Basalic, and many more.
Over 3000 young Orthodox Christians from Romania and other countries gather in Sibiu on Sept. 6-9 under the motto, ‘Unity. Faith. Nation’.
The event continues the series of meetings organised in Baia Mare in 2013 and 2014, in Cluj-Napoca in 2015, in Bucharest in 2016 and in Iasi in2017.
ITO`s purpose is creating the context for young people to experience life-changing moments, a context where they can sense the feeling of communion, of belonging, together with young people from other regions, or from abroad. A place where they can share life orthodox- values and where they can become preachers of the Christian message, spreading it in their communities.
Photography courtesy of Mircea Florescu / Basilica.ro