The joy of communion and the dynamics of christian mission

Message of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, at the concluding ceremony of the Meeting of Orthodox Youth from All Over the World, Bucharest, 1-4 September 2016:

The Meeting of Orthodox Youth from All Over the World, organised these days in Bucharest, was an occasion to rediscover together with young people from different parts of the world the spirit of communion and fraternal love. The witness of their faith and joy of being together is for us a call to intensify the mission and work of the Church among young people. At the same time, the young people witnessing to the faith, by word and deed, dedicated to prayer and action, are missionaries of the Church in today’s society.

Moving forward on the path of their own becoming, through participation in the liturgical life of the Church and the communion of the Holy Sacraments, through participation in the spiritual and social life of the communities they belong to, the young people discover new sources of spiritual joy and formation of their personality. While trying to meet the expectations of those permanently seeking answers to the problems they face, in addition to liturgical, recreational and cultural moments, during these four days of the Meeting of Orthodox Youth from All Over the World, workshops dedicated to the importance of the presence and activity of the youth in the Church were also organised.

The working sessions offered young people the opportunity to express their views on: their relationship with the Church; identifying their own spiritual needs (of counselling, support, involvement, association etc.) and how the Church can respond to them; ways in which young people can organise themselves in the Church; the types of activities whereby the younger generation can contribute to the enrichment of Christian life in parish and in youth organisations.

In the workshops, the young people have underlined the fact that, regardless the types and variety of activities organised at parish level, their presence in the community is important. And, in order to be more active in parish life, young people should be encouraged and helped to identify the problems facing local communities and initiate spiritual and social projects and programs meeting the concrete needs of local communities, especially when they are facing poverty, illness, loneliness, isolation or lack of fraternal communion and practical solidarity.

At the same time, they are also aware of the fact that demographic specifics of each parish represent a determining factor for the way pastoral activities, oriented towards their generation, are organised. Where the parish youth group is larger and community resources can support such an initiative, the young people may form an association to facilitate the development and implementation of projects at local or regional levels.

The conclusions reached by the young participants will be presented to and analysed in the International Congress of Theology Religious Education of Young People within the Context of Current Secularisation, organised by the Romanian Patriarchate, from 3-7 September 2016, to be published in a volume dedicated to the congress.

The Meeting of Orthodox Youth from All Over the World represented a major spiritual event and an important exchange of experience for further development of youth activities in the Romanian Orthodox Church, through the presence of those responsible for youth in the parishes. The event also promoted intensively the volunteering among young people, about 500 volunteers acquiring specific skills they can use in other projects.

We thank both the young participants from Romania and from all the countries represented here for the joy of being together in Bucharest these days and the young volunteers and organisers for their dynamism and dedication. Moreover, we thank the partners and sponsors who supported, with responsibility and generosity, this event of great importance.

We pray the Lord Jesus Christ, the Source of eternal joy, to bless the participants in the Meeting of Orthodox Youth from All Over the World and those who serve and support the noble work of spiritual formation of young people, so that they may be a permanent joy for the Church and for society.


Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church

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