Fifteen priests from the Archdiocese of Bucharest received Wednesday the blessing for the ministry of spiritual fathers at the St George Chapel of the Patriarchal Residence.
His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania, performed March 1 the ordination (cheirothesia) of the new spiritual fathers.
In his speech delivered at the end of the service, Patriarch Daniel explained that a confessor does not only give absolution from sins, he is also a spiritual guide and a doctor.
The Patriarch addressed the priests and said that after the ordination they can perform the Holy Sacrament of Confession, according to the canons of the Orthodox Church and the teachings of the Holy Fathers, but only in obedience to their bishop.
This ministry is great, holy, and very necessary for the life of the Church, the Patriarch added.
The power to forgive sins and to retain forgiveness comes from our God Jesus Christ, the Patriarch said, and it was granted to His disciples after His Resurrection.
His Beatitude quoted St Cyril of Alexandria saying that priests have also the power to retain the sins. The retention of sins refers to postponing Baptism or receiving Holy Communion until the penitent believer is spiritually prepared to partake of the Holy Sacraments of the Church.
In his homily, the Patriarch called the Sacrament of Confession a spiritual medicine saying that a confessor has to provide a diagnosis by weighing the context in which the sin was committed, the spiritual age and the repentance of the believer.
The newly ordained confessors received on behalf of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel a blessing cross and a Euchologion, together with the certificate of ordination as confessor.