His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel wrote a message marking the 300th anniversary of the translation to Bucharest of the ‘relics sanctified through martyrdom’ of one of Romania’s most significant leaders, martyrs and saints Constantine Brancoveanu.
The message was read out Sunday, July 12, 2020, at St George the New Church in Bucharest, one of Brancoveanu’s foundations.
‘Through his brilliant and fruitful reign – the second-longest in the history of Wallachia, unanimously recognized for its cultural, artistic, urban, political and diplomatic achievements as the Brancovenesque era – through his wisdom enlightened by his deep Orthodox faith, through his refined European rescue policy of Christian civilization and through the generosity of helping oppressed Christians in the Ottoman Empire, but especially by the firm profession of his Christian faith in front of the cruel sultan, by his dignified attitude towards death and by his martyrdom, the Holy Ruler Prince Constantine Brancoveanu remained in the conscience of the Church and the Romanian nation, for over three centuries, as one of the brightest and greatest personalities of our national history.’
Patriarch Daniel noted that ‘the personality of the Holy Ruler Prince Constantine Brancoveanu was and is revered as a holy symbol of the dignity and steadfastness in the faith of the Romanian people, a luminous portrait of the country’s Christian leader, a confessing believer and steadfast patriot until martyrdom.’
The Patriarch remembered the blessed beheading of Prince Constantine together with his four sons and the wise counsellor Ianache on August 15, 1714, on the Voivode’s 60th birthday and his wife’s name day.
‘The bodies of the martyred Romanian voivodes were thrown into the waters of the Marmara Sea, near the Bosporus. Recovered from the waters of the sea discreetly by several Christian fishermen and servants of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, their bodies were secretly buried in the church of Panagia Kamariotissa Monastery on Halki Island, a monastery that many times enjoyed the gifts of Prince Constantine Brâncoveanu.’
In his message, the Patriarch praised Brancoveanu’s wife Marica as a ‘strong and worthy woman’ who ‘with extraordinary tenacity’ managed to bring the remains of her husband to Wallachia in 1720.
Thus, in June 1720 the precious remains of St Constantine Brancoveanu were buried with a discreet ceremony in Bucharest at St George the New church, one of the prince’s foundations.
Princess Marica placed above the tomb a silver vigil lamp with the following inscription in old Slavonic: ‘This lamp, which was given to St George the New, illuminates where the remains of the blessed Lord Io Constandin Brancoveanu Basarab Voivode rest and is made by the Lady of His Majesty Mariia, who also hopes to rest her bones in the Lord in the same place. July, 12 days, year 7228 (1720).’
‘Today, July 12, 2020, when we commemorate three centuries since the relics of the glorious Prince Martyr Constantine Brâncoveanu guard the Capital and the Country, we honour the sacrifice of the Holy Brancoveanu Martyrs, which we will remember in a month, on August 16.’
‘At the same time, Princess Marica or Maria Brâncoveanu will be remembered, who with holy manliness endured the death of her pious husband and her beloved sons, endured imprisonment and exile, refusing any compromise with the murderers of her people, so that later, with a courage worthy of all praise, at great expense, but especially at the risk of losing her own life, she may bring to the country the precious remains of the Martyr Prince,’ added Patriarch Daniel.
‘Princess Marica remains for every Christian woman an example of piety and hope in times of hard trials, of patience in the most difficult suffering, of a mother who raised her children in unwavering faith, of a loving and devoted wife, values passed on to her descendants, who shone through piety and philanthropy.’
The example of the steadfast faith of Saint Constantine Brancoveanu in the Lord Jesus Christ until his martyrdom and the prayers offered before the Throne of the Most Holy Trinity by the Holy Brancoveanu Martyrs are a permanent source of light and renewal for today’s Christian life.’
The Patriarch of Romania concluded his message with a prayer to the Most Holy Trinity ‘to give us all strong faith, love for the Church and the nation, but especially to help us learn from the example of the Holy Brancoveanu Martyrs that the love springing from faith in Jesus Christ is stronger than the fear of death.’
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene
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