In his homily delivered on Bright Friday, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel referred to Christ as ‘the spring of our healing,’ stressing His unlimited love for humans.
His Beatitude said that Christ the Lord ‘is not indifferent to human suffering, sickness, infirmity, and unfulfillment.’ Every time we entreat Him, Jesus Christ comes to our help ‘directly or through the intercessions of the Theotokos or other Saints.’
During the sermon given at St Gregory the Enlightener Chapel of his patriarchal residence, Patriarch Daniel noted that the Feast of the Life-giving Spring first refers to our risen Saviour Jesus Christ, who is ‘the spring of our healing.’
The feast also refers to the Mother of God because she receives a healing power from her son Jesus Christ.
The patriarch went on to reflect on the festal icon saying that ‘it shows us clearly that the centre of all healings is Christ the Lord, but because he cannot be separated from the Theotokos, he gives his Mother this healing power.’
‘We see in the icon the Mother of God praying, and our Saviour Jesus Christ blessing her with both hands, thus the healing water gushes forth from both Christ and the Mother of God.’
Given that the Mother of God is the living icon of Christ’s Church, the patriarch said, ‘Christ gives His forgiving, healing and sanctifying power to His Church.’
Life-giving Spring Church in Constantinople
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel recalled the miracle that occurred in Constantinople when the Mother of God discovered a spring to the future Byzantine Emperor Leo the Great and by which a blind man was healed.
On April 4, 450, as soldier Leo was passing by a grove of trees, he came across a blind man who had become lost.
Leo took pity on him, led him to the pathway, seated him in the shade and began to search for water to give the thirsty man.
Leo heard a voice say to him, “Do not trouble yourself, Leo, to look for water elsewhere, it is right here!” Looking about, he could see no one, and neither could he see any water.
Then he heard the voice again, “Leo, Emperor, go into the grove, take the water which you will find and give it to the thirsty man. Then take the mud [from the stream] and put it on the blind man’s eyes… And build a temple [church] here … that all who come here will find answers to their petitions.”
Leo did as he was told, and when the blind man’s eyes were anointed he regained his sight.
After his accession to the throne, the Emperor erected a magnificent church on this site, dedicated to the Theotokos, and the water continued to work miraculous cures, as well as resurrections from the dead, through the intercession of the Theotokos, and therefore it was called “The Life-Giving Spring.”
Lesser Blessing of Waters
Given that on Bright Friday the Lesser Blessing of Waters follows the Divine Liturgy, Patriarch Daniel spoke about the use of Holy Water noting that ‘it manifests its power when the believers connect with God through prayer.’
‘Holy Water is used when people are sick or troubled.’
‘However, it should not be consumed as a magical element that heals by itself. It heals us provided it is accompanied with prayers to the risen Christ the Saviour, the Mother of God and all the Saints of God.’
His Beatitude urged all to thank God for our physical health and to ask for recovery when in sickness.
‘Today’s feast helps us better understand the suffering of others,’ he said.
Syriac Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God
In his homily, the patriarch also referred to the Syriac Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God from Ghighiu Monastery, whose feast day was recently added to the calendar of the Romanian Orthodox Church by the Holy Synod to be commemorated on Bright Friday.
The Syriac Icon of the Mother of God arrived in Romania in 1958, brought to Patriarch Justinian by Bishop Vasilios Samaha of Sergiopolis of the Patriarchate of Antioch following a dream in which the Theotokos instructed him to bring the icon, painted on sandalwood in the Syrian school in the 16th century.
He presented the icon to the patriarch at Ghighiu Monastery.
Since 1958, many believers have testified that they received quick help, healing, and strengthening of faith after praying to the Mother of God before her holy Syriac Icon.
Photography courtesy of the Basilica.ro Archive