A WISE SHEPHERD IN TIMES OF TRIBULATION

Message of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, at the funerals of Patriarch Maxim of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Sofia, 9 November 2012:

The Romanian Orthodox Church received with deep Christian sorrow the news of the passing away from this world of our brother in Christ and concelebrant, worthy of remembrance, Maxim, Metropolitan of Sofia and Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

In his long pastoral activity of 41 years, Patriarch Maxim took care, with parental love, of the faithful, in times of profound social and political transformations in a world affected either by atheistic communist ideology or by a process of secularization, which led to the profound spiritual crisis of today.

Faithful follower of Jesus Christ, our Lord’s prayer “that all may be one” (John 17:21), Patriarch Maxim distinguished himself both as an ardent defender and promoter of the unity of the Church he pastorally cared for, in times not always peaceful, and of good understanding between sister Orthodox Churches. In this sense, Patriarch Maxim was a symbol of the unity of the Bulgarian Orthodoxy for which he struggled all his life. His humbleness and wisdom were based on a long life experience and on living in the spirit of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The worthy to remember Patriarch Maxim participated personally several times, or through representatives, in important moments in the life of the Romanian Orthodox Church, just as the Romanian Orthodox Church participated in important events in the life of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Numerous mutual visits of hierarchs, professors of theology, clergy, monks and nuns, and organized pilgrimages to holy places and of historical importance for Bulgaria and Romania strengthened the communion between the two sister Churches. This is complemented also by the presence of the Romanian Orthodox community in Sofia and of the Bulgarian Orthodox community in Bucharest, respectively.

In these days of mourning, we reassure all the hierarchs of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the entire Bulgarian Orthodox people of our esteem and prayer, asking the Most Merciful God to rest the reposed Patriarch Maxim together with His beloved saints, in the love, light and peace of the Holy Trinity.

May his memory be eternal!

†DANIEL

Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church

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