Six months before its consecration, the main patronal feast of Romania’s National Cathedral was celebrated Thursday in advance at the Cathedral’s Chapel.
On the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel presided over the festive Divine Liturgy expressing his hope that next year the Cathedral’s main patronal feast will be celebrated at the Romanian People’s Salvation Cathedral.
Jesus’ post-Resurrection appearances
In his homily, the patriarch referred to Christ’s activity in the 40-day period between his resurrection and ascension to heaven.
Patriarch Daniel noted that Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances were meant to strengthen the faith of the apostles and to prepare them for eternal life.
‘After the resurrection, Christ the Saviour appeared for ten times in different moments to prove He is alive and that death has no dominion over him. He showed himself from time to time to strengthen his disciples’ faith in his resurrection.’
By disappearing after every appearance, Jesus proves ‘He was preparing his disciples for the heavenly life, convincing them to desire this heavenly life,’ the patriarch said May 17, 2018.
In the 40-day period, Jesus Christ spoke to his disciples about the Kingdom of Heaven so that they would wish ‘to join him forever in the glory of the All Holy Trinity.’
The cloud is the throne
The Romanian Patriarch reflected on the luminous cloud in which Christ went up into heaven.
‘The Heavenly Father rides on a swift cloud, and that is why He sent the cloud to his Son.’
‘The cloud in which Jesus Christ went up into heaven is the Fatherly divine throne,’ the patriarch explained.
Why did the angels appear?
The luminous cloud was accompanied by two angels who, as His Beatitude noted, were sent by God to comfort the disciples who were saddened by the separation. However, the disciples received hope and joy through the encouragement that Jesus would return.
The angels were also sent ‘to emphasise the truth of the ascension into heaven as a saving work,’ the Patriarch of Romania said.
As he went up into heaven, Christ blessed his Mother and disciples.
‘The Mother of God represents the living icon of the Church, and the Apostles are Christ’s servants who show forth into the world the mystery of the saving Church.’
The Church lives by Christ’s blessing
Patriarch Daniel went on to explain that ‘the Church does not live due to earthly human benevolence, but from Christ’s blessing.’
‘Jesus Christ went up into heaven blessing the disciples who were bowing down before him.’
The same way, ‘when we receive Christ’s blessing through the hand of a priest, we bow down as a sign of love for Christ, because Christ’s blessing means the love of the Holy Trinity for the Church.’
Blessing means spiritual joy and peace
The patriarch said that ‘people seek for God’s blessing because they feel spiritual joy and peace.’
‘Peace and joy come into the human soul through God’s blessing,’ and that is why we must ask for God’s blessing.
Without the divine blessing ‘we feel troubled and lonely.’
‘When we receive God’s blessing as a sign of His loving, supportive and sanctifying presence, we understand that even though ascended into heaven Christ is with us until the completion of the age.’
The Holy Spirit makes Christ present
Patriarch Daniel noted the link between the ascension of the Lord and the descent of the Holy Spirit.
‘Christ goes up into heaven and sends the Holy Spirit’ so that he would live in us by the Spirit.
‘The Holy Spirit makes Christ present within us through the sacred prayers and especially through the Holy Eucharist. That is why, Christ wants to be the life and light of our life,’ His Beatitude said ending his sermon.
Concelebrants for the Divine Liturgy included the V. Rev. Archimandrites Paisie Teodorescu, Dionisie Constantin, Ciprian Gradinaru, Fr Ioan Dragomir, and several deacons.
The liturgical responses were offered by the Chapel’s Byzantine Music Choir Anastasis.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, Patriarch Daniel officiated a memorial service for the Romanian heroes of all times in the honour of whom the new Orthodox Cathedral in Bucharest is being built.
The Romanian People’s Salvation Cathedral aka the National Cathedral will be consecrated this autumn during a ceremony led by His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.
The Cathedral is erected as a memorial for all Romanian heroes who sacrificed their lives for the state independence and for the benefit of the Orthodox Church.
Photos: Lumina Newspaper