His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Friday was officially welcomed at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest by His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania.
The church bells rang at noon announcing the arrival of the two delegations of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and of the Holy Metropolis of Patra invited to Bucharest for the consecration of the National Cathedral.
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel welcomed the two delegations at Sts Constantine and Helen Cathedral built in the seventeenth century.
A Polychronion was chanted in honour of the two Primates of local Orthodox Churches.
Following the service, Patriarch Daniel officially welcomed the honoured guests in the capital city of Romania on the occasion of the National Cathedral’s inauguration.
In his speech, His Beatitude recalled the former visits paid by the Ecumenical Patriarch in Romania and noted that they highlight ‘the spiritual tie between the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.’
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is now on his tenth visit to Romania.
Patriarch Daniel’s speech
Referring to the Cathedral’s inauguration, Patriarch Daniel said that it also ‘represents the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Union of all Romanian provinces in one state – the Kingdom of Greater Romania.’
‘The first beneficial consequence of this union of 1918 was the elevation of the Romanian Orthodox Church to the rank of Patriarchate, recognized by Your Holiness’s predecessor Patriarch Basil III of blessed memory, through Tomos no. 1579 of 30 July 1925,’ he said.
His Beatitude also expressed his joy for ‘the presence in Bucharest, at this unique event in the life of the Romanian Orthodox Church, of His Eminence Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of Patra, the delegate of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece, who brought on this occasion to Bucharest the Venerable Hand of the Holy Apostle Andrew, the First-called, Protector of Romania and of the National Cathedral.’
Ending his speech, the Patriarch of Romania wished everyone ‘a blessed visit to our Country and Church.’
‘We became worthy to come once again to this blessed country’
In his response, the Ecumenical Patriarch reminded that he had received the invitation to attend this ‘great, historic event’ in 2016, during the Holy and Great Council of Crete.
His Holiness noted that Patriarch Daniel’s contribution to the good course of the Council was highly appreciated ‘by all our fellow Synodal hierarchs, by the Primates and others.’
‘His Beatitude’s contribution to the success of our Council,’ the Ecumenical Patriarch added, ‘was truly important, not only because of his rich dogmatic and theological education, thanks to which he was able to bring a substantial contribution to some important, delicate aspects, but also thanks to his wide horizon and his conciliatory and irenic character.’
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His Holiness went on to speak about the inauguration of the National Cathedral, which ‘represents the sacred promise of the Romanian people for its national freedom.’
‘We are invited to consecrate it the day after tomorrow and then present it to the One Who gave us spiritual and physical freedom, 11 years after the laying of its foundation stone,’ the Ecumenical Patriarch said stressing at the same time the good ties between the two Churches.
Your joy is our joy
‘Every joy, every success and progress of Your Beatitude is also ours, and vice versa, every of sadness, problem and difficulty we consider and feel as our own.’
‘We know that there is reciprocity on behalf of Your Beatitude and thus, the originality of brotherhood is confirmed,’ His Holiness said Nov. 23.
The Patriarch of Constantinople ended his speech by thanking ‘from the depth of our heart for the marvellous welcome, as well as for the warm and polite words.’
He conveyed ‘warm blessings and heartfelt wishes on behalf of the Mother Church to all believers of the Church of Romania and to the entire Romanian people.’
His Holiness presented the distinguished members of his delegation including Metropolitans Emmanuel of France and Eplidophoros of Bursa.
Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Patra
The third to take the floor was Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Patra who conveyed his ‘greetings in fraternal love, our respect and our warm wishes of many blessed and holy years in the Lord.’
He also pointed to the devotion of the Romanian people to Saint Andrew the Apostle recalling the moment he brought the Saint’s Honourable Head to Bucharest in 2011.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Patra are currently visiting Romania for the inauguration of the Romanian People’s Salvation Cathedral which will take place on Sunday, November 25.
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Photography courtesy of Mircea Florescu / Basilica.ro