On the International Children’s Day (June 1, 2016) and the Sunday of Parents and Children (June 5, 2016), the Patriarch of Romania addresses a message in which he points out the need to cultivate a harmonious relationship between parents and children:
Christ is risen!
The Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church has declared the first Sunday after June 1 the Sunday of Parents and Children (Decision no. 629/2009), in order to cultivate more intensely the loving and respectful communion between parents and children.
Christian family is a blessing and an icon of the love of God for humanity, a sacred space where the grace of the Most Holy Trinity works, leading to eternal life and love. Within a family, the relationship between parents and children can be better understood in the light of man’s relationship with God. Children are not born only for terrestrial life, but also to become, by Holy Baptism, sons of God according to grace (John 1:12-13) and to inherit eternal life in the Kingdom of the Most Holy Trinity. Therefore, bringing up children has to be done with paternal love and full responsibility, by prayer and instruction to do good deeds. By the help of parents and other members of a family, a child can form his or her first image of the world and the society; he or she learns faith in God and cultivates love and respect for others.
A child’s character is not formed only by words and activities, but also by the living example of the parents. The harmonious relationship with parents, which is intense during childhood, is the main component of the formation of children. On the contrary, the absence of harmony in the relationship with parents can have negative influence on the entire life of children.
Parents’ authority should not be founded on constraint or violence, but on love, dialogue and support. The content and the quality of communication between parents and children represent the key to successful Christian education. The Christian Family, comprised of a man, a woman and children, represents the most precious intimate space to cultivate marital, parental, filial and fraternal love. The absence of love and communion in a family leads its members to estrangement, to conjugal and domestic violence, to divorce, alcoholism, school drop-out etc., having dramatic effects on children.
In the agitated modern society, subject to rapid change, exerting an intense pressure on children with its multiple novelties and temptations, the dialogue between parents and their sons or daughters, resulting in a proper understanding of values, is extremely necessary. It is not supposed for a child to follow a random way in life, but to choose a personal way out of a multitude of possibilities that are offered. In today’s secularized society, lying in economic, moral and social crisis, in which the Christian family faces severe problems of financial and social, moral and spiritual nature, the protection, promotion and consolidation of the sacred institution of family founded on the evangelical perennial values must represent a constant mission of the Church and a responsibility of the society as a whole.
The year 2016, declared by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church as Solemn Year of the Religious Education of the Orthodox Christian Youth and Commemorative Year of Saint Hieromartyr Anthimos the Ivirite and of the Church Typographers, represents a good occasion to emphasise spiritual milestones, as a light for life, being a witnessing of the authentic familial identity and of the tradition of Romanian education, which started in schools founded by the Church.
On the Sunday of Parents and Children, we urge parents to dedicate more time to their children, to help them keep their spiritual and physical health, to cultivate the freedom of performing good and to bring joy to their neighbours. At the same time, we urge children to love their parents and pray for them, because through parents has God granted their life, and through parents God helps them fulfil their vocation of spiritually increasing in the love of God and of fellow people.
We pray to the Most Holy Trinity to bless all the children and parents and grant them health and joy, peace and help, for many and blessed years!
Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church