Hundreds of believers took part in the patronal feast of the Chapel of the National Cathedral: the feast of the Prodromitissa (Forerunneress) Icon of the Mother of God. His Grace Varlaam of Ploieşti, assistant bishop to the Patriarch, celebrated July 12 the Divine Liturgy at the chapel’s outdoor altar.
Concelebrants for the Divine Liturgy included:
- Archimandrite Arsenie Popa, abbot of Sihastria Monastery,
- Archimandrite Clement Haralam, great ecclesiarch of the Patriarchal Cathedral,
- Archimandrite Ciprian Gradinaru,
- Archimandrite Dionisie Constantin, patriarchal counselor,
- Liviu Nechita, patriarchal counselor,
- Stefan Ababei, patriarchal counselor,
- Ioan Dragomir, patriarchal counselor,
- Several priests from Bucharest and from all across Romania.
In his homily, His Grace Bishop Varlaam recalled the history of the miraculous painting of the Prodromitissa Icon of the Theotokos. He stressed the spiritual profit that the wonderworking icons can bring in our fight against sin.
Some icons receive this gift for their painter’s humility, prayerfulness, and spiritual feats, but also for the numerous tears and prayers that have been offered from hearts overwhelmed by suffering, tribulations and trials. These icons are for each one of us comfort and encouragement in the spiritual struggle that we carry against sin, he said.
The hierarch also stressed the reasons for the veneration of the Mother of God based on the day’s Gospel reading and on other Scriptures of the Old Testament.
She is the Ark of the New Covenant because the Law was given through Moses, but the Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ, the Founder of the New Covenant, he said.
The golden pot containing manna also prefigured the Mother of God, because she was the vessel chosen to carry the Body of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who said ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven’.
Bishop Varlaam went on to say that Aaron’s rod that budded wondrously prefigures the Mother of God, who without the participation of a man has begotten and gave birth to our Saviour.
His Grace Varlaam of Ploiesti urged the faithful to draw near faithfully to the Prodromitissa Icon of the Mother of God and entrusted them that their prayers and petitions would be listened to.
His Grace ended his speech by conveying the blessing of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania.
On behalf of the Chapel of the National Cathedral and as a sign of gratitude for taking part in the patronal feast of the chapel, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Dionisie Constantin presented His Grace Bishop Varlaam with an icon depicting the Most Holy Theotokos of Prodromos.
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel established the summer patronal feast of the Chapel of the National Cathedral dedicated to the Mother of God of Prodromos in 2011 when he offered a copy of the Prodromitissa wonderworking icon of the Theotokos to be venerated in the chapel.
Photo by Robert Nicolae / Basilica.ro