Patriarch Daniel of Romania presided over the Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great officiated on the Great and Holy Thursday at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest. His Grace Bishop Varlaam of Ploiesti concelebrated with His Beatitude on 13 April 2017.
After the gospel reading, His Beatitude delivered a homily focusing on the significance of the foot washing, the Last Supper, the supernatural prayer and the betrayal of Judas.
The washing of the feet, the Patriarch said, is a spiritual state of humility, of humble and merciful love, which highlights a state of self-sacrifice.
His Beatitude reflected on the betrayal of Jesus by one of His apostles. Judas chose to betray Jesus because he suffered from covetousness and envy. These passions were so strongly rooted in Judas Iscariot that he became darkened and ill and could not show any more gratitude nor respect for his Teacher Jesus Christ. The gospel, the Patriarch added, relates the tragic situation sin brings along: when passions take over, humans become insensitive. They lack the sense of justice and of gratitude; they become enslaved by sin and darkness.
Patriarch Daniel went on to explain the novelty of Christian Passover, reflecting on the fact that Jesus identified the bread with His Body and the wine with His Blood. The contents of Christian Passover is the Lord Christ Himself, the Patriarch exclaimed.
At the Last Supper, Christ offered in advance to His Disciples His Body and Blood. This means that His sinless life, His pure, holy, sacrificial and sincere love is granted to all those who welcome Him with faith and love. That is why the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist is at the centre of Church life. The Holy Eucharist is Christ Himself.
With reference to the Last Supper commemorated this day, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel pointed out that it is the most accessible way for us humans to attain to Christ’s holy and eternal life by eating and drinking. The Lord takes upon Himself our sins and weaknesses and offers in exchange holiness, His power, His humble, sacrificial, luminous love and the joy of the Most Holy Trinity.
The mystery of the Passions of our Saviour Jesus Christ is above our understanding, the Patriarch noted ending his speech.
At the end, two hieromonks were raised to the rank of protosyncellus.
The believers that took part in the Divine Liturgy were presented icon prayer cards depicting the Last Supper.
The liturgical answers were given by the Tronos Byzantine Music Choir of the Patriarchal Cathedral, conducted by Archdeacon Mihail Buca.