His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel spoke about the importance of bearing witness to Christ’s divinity also stressing the importance of professing Christian faith during his homily delivered on the Sunday of Orthodoxy at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest.
True faith opens heavens to us
‘We see clearly that for professing true faith we are repaid with the opening of the gates to the Kingdom of Heaven,’ the Patriarch of Romania noted on Sunday, March 17, 2019.
‘Without bearing witness to Christ’s divinity, to the fact that the Son of the eternal living God became a Man out of love for humans, we cannot attain to the Kingdom of Heaven,’ the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church said.
He cautioned that ‘no one can gain salvation without professing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He rose from the dead.’
Rabbi, You are the Son of God!
Referring to the words of Nathanael, His Beat https://www.fssp.uaic.ro/departamente/stiinte-ale-comunicarii-si-relatii-publice/evenimente/congresul-international-de-istorie-a-presei itude explained that ‘besides physical sight, there is also spiritual sight, which is much deeper and knowledgeable than seeing with the eyes of the body.’
Nathanael saw with his physical eyes a man from Nazareth, but through faith, he observed Him as the uncircumscribed God.
‘The faith professed by Nathanael represents spiritual sight, which is beyond physical or bodily sight,’ His Beatitude said adding that the apostle ‘saw a man in flesh and witnessed to the Son of God from Heaven.’
Therefore, the Patriarch noted that true faith ‘is spiritual knowledge to see the invisible One’ or, in other words, ‘a spiritual faculty to be able to feel God’s presence in the world and in our life.’
‘Faith is knowledge in the Holy Spirit, it is spiritual knowledge beyond all visible, passing, limited realities of this world. It is knowledge beyond the immediate experience of contacting material reality,’ His Beatitude said.
What are holy icons?
The Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church went on to speak about the meaning of the Orthodox icon, noting that it is ‘a profession of the Orthodox faith, a glimpse of the Kingdom of Heaven, but also a calling to prayer and saintliness.’
The Patriarch added that iconography calls us to carry out dialogue with Christ and prepares us for partaking of the Holy Eucharist.
‘By venerating holy icons, we become venerators of Christ, and by communicating with the Holy Eucharist we become Christ-bearers in order to live our life in Christ through grace, faith, and good deeds, and to become Christ’s living icons in the world.’
Why do we walk in procession on the Sunday of Orthodoxy?
At the end of his homily, Patriarch Daniel explained why clergy and believers carry holy icons in procession on the Sunday of Orthodoxy.
‘Because we bear witness to our Orthodox faith in public also, not only at home, and we show our joy of living in communion with the Saints of all times and places, regardless of ethnicity, age or profession,’ His Beatitude said.
We are called to proper living
The Patriarch of Romania pointed out that the Sunday of Orthodoxy is the Sunday of true faith, ‘calling us to proper living’.
‘That is why this Sunday was set at the beginning of Great Lent so that through prayer, fasting, almsgiving, confession, and more often Holy Communion to become living icons of Christ.’
Concelebrants for the Divine Liturgy included the patriarchal auxiliary bishops Varlaam of Ploiesti and Ieronim of Sinaia.
29th anniversary of episcopal consecration
The Sunday of Orthodoxy also marks an important event in the life of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel, given that in 1990, when he was ordained to the Episcopate at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Timisoara on the first Sunday of Lent.
Special litanies and prayers were offered to thank God for the blessings bestowed upon His Beatitude during his 29-year episcopal ministry.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, His Grace Bishop Varlaam referred to the missionary activity carried out by Patriarch Daniel and presented him with flowers.
Photography courtesy of ZL / Mihnea Păduraru