Assistant Bishop Benedict celebrates Int’l Roma Day with Romanian-Romani bilingual liturgy

“We are delighted that you are many and you are young. It’s a big deal in a world where there are fewer and fewer children. It is a great thing that you give birth, that you are concerned with doing this order of being God’s helpers and of bringing healthy babies to life. And we, the others, adults, are called to strive to make a better life for children,” His Grace Assistant Bishop Benedict of Bistrița said on Thursday at the Church of Turda-Fabrici parish.

On International Roma Day, the assistant bishop to the Cluj Archdiocese celebrated the Divine Liturgy together with the parish priest Marin Trandafir Roz in the Roma community at Turda-Fabrici.

The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts was celebrated in the Romanian and Roman languages, informs the Metropolitan Church of Cluj.

Assistant Bishop Benedict of Bistrița appreciated the Romani people’s willingness to give birth to babies and the nomadic lifestyle that illustrates the Christian’s life.

He interpreted the Romani flag from a spiritual perspective. He said that the wheel with spokes – “chakra” – expresses the way of life of the Romani people, but “more than that I would say that it describes the way of being of all Christians that we are all travellers on this world, and no one has an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. God gives us the enduring city in His Kingdom.”

“This way of being you, Romani people, have from history to the present day, in fact, expresses something very profound: that it is not necessary to make palaces here, that it is not necessary to immerse ourselves in this world to the end, but, on the contrary, it is necessary to look more towards what is coming, towards Christ who calls us to Him.”

Bishop Benedict also explained to the Romani community how to respond to this call: by standing next to the Church and next to the word of God, next to Father Trandafir, “appointed precisely to teach you how to live beautifully and to help you, to listen to your pain, to put his hand as far as he can and to ask for help on the left and the right so that things go better.”

“We all want things to go better. And maybe we should do much more,” said the Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Vad, Feleac and Cluj.

In the end, for his administrative and pastoral-missionary activity, the parish priest Marin Trandafir Roz was awarded a “Diploma of chosen honour”. The bishop also offered sweets and prayer books to the children present.

The current Metropolitan Andrei of Cluj served as a priest at Turda-Fabrici parish during 1978-1985.

There are two missionary parishes for Romani people in the Archdiocese of Cluj, including the Parish of Turda, founded in January 2019, pastored by Father Marin Trandafir Roz, and the Missionary Parish “Saint Moses the Black” at Pata Rât, founded in 2015, pastored by Father Petru Săvărășan.

These communities benefit from a series of catechetical, educational and cultural activities coordinated with the help of the Orthodox Social-Missionary-Cultural Association for Romani people “Saint Moses the Black” and the Association of Romanian Orthodox Christian Students – Cluj-Napoca branch (ASCOR Cluj-Napoca).

The Archdiocese of Vad, Feleac and Cluj, through its missionary-social sector, periodically grants aid (food packages and financial support) to the Roma communities of Pata Rât, Turda and other communities in the two counties of the diocese Cluj and Bistrița-Năsăud.

Photography courtesy of  Darius Echim / Metropolis of Cluj

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