Today, 9 November 2012, feast of Saint Nectarie of Egyna, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania. His Grace Varsanufie Prahoveanul, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Bucharest and many priests and deacons assisted His Beatitude.
As Trinitas Radio station informs us, the monastic place of worship houses the shrine of a particle of the relics of Saint Nectarie of Egyna which was taken out in procession and laid near the church monastery. Over 1000 faithful attended the religious service and a few hundred queued up to pray the holy relics.
In the sermon delivered after reading the Evangelical pericope, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel spoke about the role of the good shepherd in the middle of the faithful: “The Gospel shows us that Christ, our Saviour, is the Good Shepherd. And the Good Shepherd risks His life for His sheep. The sacrificial state for the salvation of those entrusted to Him is the first virtue of the Good Shepherd. This thing means that to be a shepherd is to be a sacrificial man. To be a shepherd means not to think only of yourself, but to think of those whom God entrusted to you to take on the way of salvation. So, the good shepherd accomplishes his mission forgetting about himself due to his care for other people. The Gospel shows us that the dignity of those who take care of people comes from their sacrificial devotion. The Good Shepherd is different from the paid one, from the one who is only after material benefit, because he is not interested in his own gain, but in what those whom he shepherds can gain, and the greatest gain is the salvation and eternal life”.
The shepherd is, at the same time, a doctor of the souls.
“Lots of people are spiritually sick and need healing. Many people are physically sick too. During the solemn year of the Holy Unction we emphasised the fact that the Church wants the healing both of the soul and of the body. Very often the diseases of the body are the consequences of the body’s diseases. Some other time the disease is not the result of the sin but a trial, a checking of the faith through sufferance. The shepherd is a forgiving father, as well as a corrector. The effort given at the confession is not a punishment as sometimes understood, but a recipe of spiritual medicine”, the Patriarch of Romania said according to Trinitas TV.
The Patriarch of Romania emphasised the essential things which the good shepherd must accomplish: “The Good Shepherd is the one who knows the Holy Scriptures very well and shares them to others, who knows the writings of the Holy Fathers very well and shares them to others too, and the one who urges to repentance and to the Eucharist of Christ after the faithful showed through repentance that they kept the faith and received the forgiveness of their sins. Besides these essential works of the shepherd, the prayer for the shepherded ones is a badly needed one and very useful for the community too. The priest cannot think only of himself, but of the whole community entrusted to him. The more somebody listens to the confession of the penitents the more he must remember them in prayer. The priest and shepherd of souls is not a simple forgiver of sins, but a father who raises up the one who has fallen, who heals the injured one, who feeds and gives water to the one who is hunger and thirsty of the Word of God. The faithful in their turn must remember in their prayers the spiritual father who shepherds them. Thus, we see that both the shepherd and the shepherded ones are in the love of the Most Holy Trinity through this mutual prayer, and that it is only in this love of the Most Holy Trinity that a true spiritual growth is possible.”
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel has also pointed out the devotion of the Romanian people for Saint Hierarch Nectarie of Egyna who “has become a friend not only of the Greek Orthodox people, but also of some other peoples”.
To end with the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel offered Radu Voda Monastery several liturgical books and of pastoral benefit, as well as small icons of Saint Nectarie of Egyna to the faithful present. He received an icon of Jesus Christ, our Saviour, on behalf of the community of Radu Voda Monastery.