‘First we owe to give thanks to God,’ Patriarch Daniel stressed on Sunday at the Te Deum service officiated by his patriarchal auxiliary bishop Varlaam of Ploiesti on His Beatitude’s 11th enthronement anniversary.
Several hierarchs, priests and believers joined their prayers of thanksgiving for the bounties poured out by God upon the Romanian Orthodox Church, the Romanian people and Patriarch Daniel personally during the 11 years of patriarchal ministry.
In his congratulatory speech, Bishop Varlaam focused on Patriarch Daniel’s ‘providential and sacrificial pastorship of our Church.’
‘The 11th patriarchal anniversary gives us the opportunity to reflect on the permanent and intense work of our Church’s Patriarch in preserving, cultivating and strengthening of the unity of faith and nation of the people upon whom the Holy Spirit placed him as Primate in difficult times,’ His Grace said Sept. 30.
The patriarchal auxiliary bishop reminded the most important missionary programs carried out with the blessing of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel, including the catechetical programs ‘Christ conveyed to children’ and ‘Choose school!’, the International Meeting of Orthodox Youth, the ‘Health for villages’ social program, the establishment of the Basilica Media Centre, the construction of the National Cathedral.
Keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace
Citing St Paul’s recommendation to ‘keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’ (Ephesians 4:3), Bp Varlaam spoke about the unity of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
His Grace referred to the National Church Assembly saying that it is a small icon of ‘the entire nation gathered around Christ and His Church.’
‘Hierarchs, priests, and lay believers from all the provinces and dioceses of Romania (…) gathered together at the Patriarch Teoctist Aula reconstituted the atmosphere at the end of 1918 when all Romanians reunified in a single country, great and round like bread.’
The Metropolitan of Moldavia and Bukovina, Teofan, presented the Patriarch with an icon of the Mother of God, a gift on behalf of the members of the Romanian Orthodox Church Holy Synod.
First we owe to thank God
The Patriarch thanked for the warm words and stressed that ‘first we owe to give thanks to God’ for everything.
‘Only through gratitude can we grow spiritually,’ His Beatitude said explaining that gratefulness is the bridge between God’s gifts and the sign of our spiritual growth.
‘God offers us the gifts, and if we thank Him, then He adds other gifts. Thus we renew our thanksgiving and this is how our soul edifies.’
‘Whatever we do, we must confess in humility that we are unworthy servants we have only done what was our duty, or even less than that,’ Patriarch Daniel said Sept. 30.
The Patriarch of Romania also pointed to thankfulness for our fellows through whom God works in our life.
‘A patriarch cannot work alone, but together with the Synod. Only together can we take decisions that are useful for the entire Church. This synodal reason is the reflection of the presence of the grace of the Most Holy Trinity in the life of the Church,’ His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel stressed.
At the end, the Patriarch read out the National Church Assembly’s appeal backing the participation in the referendum that will be held in Romania on October 6-7 to clarify marriage in the country’s Constitution as union of a man and a woman only.
Photography courtesy of Mihnea Păduraru / ZL