‘Let us spiritualise the time of our life, let us grow in wisdom and grace before God and our fellows. Let us show the light of faith, good deeds and especially merciful love to those around us,’ Patriarch Daniel urged the faithful during the Divine Liturgy celebrated at the Patriarchal Cathedral on the first day of the year.
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania presided over the New Year’s Divine Liturgy having as concelebrants his patriarchal assistant, Bishop Varlaam of Ploiesti, and the Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Bucharest, His Grace Bishop Timotei of Prahova.
In his homily, the patriarch focused on the three feasts commemorated on January 1: The circumcision of our Lord, Saint Basil the Great and the civil New Year.
Reflecting on the fact that infants underwent circumcision as a sign of God’s covenant with the holy Forefather Abraham and his descendants, Patriarch Daniel said that the Lord underwent circumcision for three reasons: (1) so that later no one would doubt that He had truly assumed human flesh, and that His Incarnation was not merely an illusion, as certain heretics had taught; (2) to explain that He has not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it; (3) to conclude this ritual of the Old Law and to open a new, superior reality: the circumcision of the heart by the Spirit.
The patriarch noted that the circumcision of the heart by the Spirit ‘is not performed by human hand, being the joint effort of the Holy Spirit and of the human soul.’
‘The bloody circumcision was transformed into an unbloody, spiritual one, through the Holy Baptism in the faith in Jesus Christ.’ That is why, ‘Baptism is death to sin and resurrection to the life full of holiness,’ Patriarch Daniel said Jan. 1.
The Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church went on to present Saint Basil’s example of charity work, his writings and his monastic rules.
Finally, the Patriarch reflected on the New Year saying that ‘we know that God does not look at our material plans, but rather at our desire to progress spiritually, to strengthen our faith, to grow in prayer and good deeds.’
The Patriarch congratulated all those bearing the name of Saint Basil the Great and wished them longevity, good health and much joy.
Following the Divine Liturgy, a Te Deum was officiated during which 2018 was officially declared Solemn Year of the unity of faith and nation, and Commemorative Year of the 1918 Great Union Founders.
Photo courtesy of Mihnea Păduraru / ZL