On Monday, hundreds of believers from all across Romania attended the celebrations of Saint Gregory the Decapolite at Bistrița Monastery, where his holy relics are kept. On this occasion, eleven Romanian hierarchs concelebrated at the Divine Liturgy, the diocesan website reports.
This year we celebrate the 520th anniversary of the placing of the holy relics of St Gregory the Decapolite at Bistrița Monastery.
The Divine Liturgy was presided over by His Eminence Irineu, Metropolitan of Oltenia, having as concelebrants Archbishop Varsanufie of Râmnic, Bishop Nicodim of Severin and Strehaia, Bishop Andrei of Covasna and Harghita, Bishop Galaction of Alexandria and Teleorman, Bishop Sebastian of Slatina and Romanați, Bishop Visarion of Tulcea, Bishop Gurie of Deva and Hunedoara, Bishop Ilarion of Făgăraș, vicar to the Archdiocese of Sibiu, Bishop Paisie of Lugoj, vicar to the Archdiocese of Timișoara, and Bishop Emilian of Crișana, vicar to the Archdiocese of Arad.
Saint Gregory is known for preaching the Word of God everywhere, denouncing the Iconoclast heresy, strengthening the faith and fortitude of the Orthodox, whom the heretics in those times oppressed, tortured and imprisoned.
Saint Gregory (816) was buried at a monastery in Constantinople, and many miracles took place at his tomb. As a result, the monks removed the holy relics of Saint Gregory and enshrined them in the church where people could venerate them.
When Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453, the relics of Saint Gregory were carried to the region of the Danube by a Turkish official. In 1498 Barbu Craiovescu, the Ban of the Romanian Land (Wallachia) heard of the miracles performed by the holy relics and bought them for a considerable sum of money.
Barbu Craiovescu placed the relics in the main church of Bistritsa Monastery which he founded in Rimnicu Vilcea, where they remain to the present day.
In his homily, Metropolitan Irineu referred to the protection and peace offered to believers by St Gregory the Decapolite through his holy relics, adding that everyone ought to perform deeds well pleasing to God.
At the end of the Liturgy, the Archbishop of Râmnic addressed thanks to Metr. Irineu for serving at Bistrița Monastery, and to the concelebrating hierarchs.
Photography courtesy of the Râmnic Archdiocese