The Royal Hall of the National Art Museum hosted Wednesday a ceremony to award the Chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, Aurel Vainer, the honorary citizenship of Bucharest. Attending the event was Patriarch Daniel who presented Aurel Vainer as ‘an example of solidarity and cooperation, both at local and at international level.’
The Patriarch of Romania spoke about several activities made by the Chairman of the Jewish Federation ‘to defend and promote traditional, spiritual Judeo-Christian values.’
‘We particularly appreciated the support offered by Chairman Aurel Vainer to our efforts to preserve religious symbols in public spaces in Romania, and to maintain religious education in Romanian state schools,’ the Patriarch said Feb. 7.
In his speech, Patriarch Daniel recalled that the chairman of the Jewish Federation contributed financially to the restoration of the Orthodox Church in his home village, Stefanesti, Botosani County.
His Beatitude also pointed to the support offered by Aurel Vainer to the initiative of the Romanian Patriarchate to establish the Consultative Council of Religious Denominations in Romania, together with the other religious bodies officially recognized by the Romanian state, on 14 April 2011.
The mayor of Bucharest, Gabriela Firea, said that Aurel Vainer is ‘the man who sacrifices himself for the sake of others,’ being a promoter of dialogue. ‘It is from him that I have mostly heard words such as humanity, solidarity, peace, friendship, love.’
The event was attended by culture people, politicians, representatives of the religious denominations, local and state officials, including the State Secretary for Religious Affairs, Victor Opaschi.
Speaking to those present at the former Royal Palace, Aurel Vainer declared himself ‘a great supporter of peace’ who embraced everything good ‘for the sake of Romania, the Romanian people, and the whole world.’
Pointing to the Jewish greeting Shalom meaning peace, Chairman Vainer said that peace can be a fact or a state of mind.
‘We should make peace a state of mind. Let us always and always promote this ideal where we are.’
Aurel Vainer confessed that he was constantly guided by ‘essentially Judeo-Christian values, with all subsequent developments.’ At the same time he was and remains ‘an advocate of open windows.’
‘I have a slogan: By mutual knowledge to mutual recognition,’ Vainer noted during his honorary citizenship ceremony.
Photos courtesy of Robert Nicolae / Basilica.ro