Sunday, 11 November 2012, hundreds of faithful came to worship Saint Martyr Mina at the place of worship which he protects in the heart of the capital city of the country. The church Saint Mina Vergu – patriarchal chapel dressed festive vestments on the occasion of the celebration day, because a particle of the holy relics of Saint Mina has been here since 1847. The joy of the feast was increased by the presence of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church who delivered a sermon for those present explaining them the meaning of the evangelical pericope of the Good Samaritan presented at the Divine Liturgy, and emphasising the exemplary life of Saint Martyr Mina.
The robbers who attack, rob and hurt the soul and body are the demons and human selfish passions
While referring to the Example of the Merciful Samaritan, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel showed that this very concise text is a form of presentation of the salvation of the humankind.
“The descent from Jerusalem to Jericho and the drama of the fall among the robbers who kill the soul and body represents the degradation of humankind after sinning, the descent from the heavenly things to the earthly ones. The robbers who attack, rob and hurt the soul and body are the demons and human selfish passions. They degrade the soul too through the alienation from God and the body through the advancement to the biological death. Thus, humankind fallen into sin is degraded and advances to death, the spiritual death as alienation from God and physical death of the body which causes at last the separation of the soul from the body and disintegration of the body”, said His Beatitude.
The Merciful Samaritan is Jesus Christ, our Saviour, Himself, the Son of the Eternal God
At the same time, His Beatitude emphasised the fact that Christ, our Lord, is the Merciful Samaritan, the One who came down from heaven for our salvation.
“The Merciful Samaritan is Jesus Christ, our Saviour, Himself, the Son of the Eternal God who came down from Jerusalem to Jericho, who came down from Heaven out of love for humans and for their salvation and began to heal the humankind through the healing of the wounds of the souls fallen into sin and of the body’s diseases, as the Holy Gospels show us”, His Beatitude the Patriarch said.
The work of the merciful love named philanthropy or charity means the presence of the Merciful Christ in the world through the hands of the merciful Christians
His Beatitude has also spoken about the merciful love conveyed from the Head of the Church – Christ, the mysterious body of Christ, namely the Church.
“The Merciful Samaritan shows that the neighbour is not the one close to us geographically of physically, but the merciful man who feels merciful love and helps those in need with no reward whatsoever and without expecting any praise or appreciation. Here is the great mystery of the merciful love of Christ; the Church understood that this merciful love of Christ is conveyed from the head of the Church – Christ, to the mysterious body of Christ, which is the Church. This is why the aiding work of the sick and especially of the poor was named throughout the church history the Samaritan work or the philanthropic work of the Good Samaritan. Lots of hospitals in the Church history were named the Good Samaritan which fact refers to the merciful love of Christ and to the merciful love of the Church implemented in orphanages, old people’s homes, medical units for the sick; the first medical points and hospitals were built by the Church. This work of the merciful love named philanthropy or charity means the presence of the Merciful Christ in the world through the hands of the merciful Christians, namely through the people who have the Spirit of the Merciful Christ in their soul. Their hands become the hands of the merciful love of Christ because when the old sick or lonely man prays to God to help him, God mysteriously sends in the minds of the good merciful people the message that help is needed somewhere and this work of God makes the minds enlightened by the grace of the Merciful God and the hearts warmed by the merciful love of Christ activate the philanthropic activity of the Church through the Christians who become the hands of the merciful love of the Merciful Samaritan, who is Jesus Christ”, said the Patriarch of Romania.
While eulogizing the life of Saint Mina, His Beatitude urged the faithful to confess the right faith just as Saint Great Martyr did who sacrificed himself for the faith in Christ.
“Let us pray Saint Great Martyr Mina to protect us against any evil thing, and help us strengthen ourselves in faith. Let us have witnessing faith not only at home or in secret, but in public too, not be ashamed that we bear the name of Christ, that we are Christians, and learn from Saint Mina that the power of prayer is stronger than the military one”, His Beatitude also said.
To end with, the Patriarch of Romania awarded parish priest Gheorghe Ispas the Order of Saints Emperors Constantine and Helen for his rich pastoral – missionary, administrative and social philanthropic activity developed, and patriarchal counsellor Costin Spiritdon the Order of Sanctus Stephanus Magnus. Priests Andrei Nicolae and Zlotea Marian were also awarded the rank of iconom stavrofor. The Parochial Council and Committee were awarded the Diploma of Honour of Saints Emperors Constantine and Helen.
His Beatitude has also offered the parish of Saint Mina Vergu several liturgical books spiritually useful.
Then, parish priest Gheorghe Ispas thanked His Beatitude for all the support granted and offered him an icon of Saint Great Martyr Mina on behalf of the parish.
Saint Great Martyr Mina, celebrated on 11 November in the Orthodox Church, lived in the time of the Roman emperors Diocletian and Maximian. He was a servant in the Roman army and when the persecutions against the Christians began he retired in the desert. On the occasion of a great pagan feast in Frigia, Saint Mina went to the middle of the people and preached the word of God. He was caught and tortured by the order of the emperor, and then beheaded. In 1874, a particle of the holy relics of the Saint was brought to the church of Saint Mina in the heart of Bucharest.