Patriarch Daniel urges responsible freedom during pandemic: The greatest gifts are health and salvation

“Everyone must be aware, free and responsible when their health is in danger because we do not know if we are prepared enough to go beyond. That is why the Desert Fathers asked God for an extra moment of life to repent,” the Patriarch of Romania cautioned on Wednesday, speaking about the healing works of the venerable saints Demetrius the New and John Jacob of Neamț.

The main gifts required by the Church in public prayer are health and salvation, His Beatitude emphasized October 27, 2021.

Patriarch Daniel evoked the healing power of the two saints, who had healed many sick people over time.

“The city of Bucharest was saved from many dangers by Saint Demetrius the New. In 1814, during the reign of Prince Caragea, there was a terrible plague. A lot of people died, as nowadays, with this epidemic that unexpectedly covered the whole world, becoming a pandemic,” the Patriarch of Romania noted.

“And the people cried out with fervent prayer, with fasting and many tears, and sought the help of St. Demetrius, who put an end to the plague after many people had died.”

His Beatitude also mentioned the saint’s help in the cholera epidemic of 1831.

“So let us pray to St. Demetrius to put an end to this pandemic, which has become very aggressive and which has multiplied the suffering, the tears throughout the country and around the world,” the Romanian Patriarch said.

“Also, St. John Jacob of Neamt healed a lot of sick people – not only Romanians but also foreigners. Therefore, he was canonized not only by the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1992 but, on December 31, 2016, his canonization was also proclaimed by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem,” His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel highlighted.

“So here we have holy healers today, that’s why we titled our Word to Pilgrims, saying that the two friends of Christ, Saint Demetrius the New and St. John Jacob of Neamț (…) are friends of Christ, so they bring spiritual and physical healing in times of illness,” the Patriarch underlined.

“We ask them to give us much health, help from God, peace and joy, to progress in faith and Christian love, in holiness and in good works, always recalling that life and health are gifts received from God, which we must cultivate through prayer, humility and great care, strictly following the advice of doctors and the sanitary measures decided by the competent authorities.”

The Patriarch of Romania urged the faithful to respect the rules of health protection. If we endanger our lives here on earth, we risk endangering our salvation, His Beatitude pointed out.

“At the end of his life, St. Anthony the Great, the founder of monasticism, was asked: If you lived longer – he was over a hundred years old – what would you do with priority? And he said: I would learn to repent more. So, the time of our life must be a time of repentance for sins, a time of sanctification of life, and let us see that the greatest gifts of this life are two: health and salvation.”

“Therefore, in our services, when we pray, we pray first for the health and salvation of Church servants and all believers, salvation meaning the union of the transient and limited man with the eternal and infinite God,” the Patriarch underscored.

Patriarch Daniel presided over the Divine Liturgy on Wednesday at the feast of Saint Demetrius the New, one of the patron saints of the Patriarchal Cathedral. The service took place at the outdoor altar, respecting the social distance between the faithful.

At this year’s celebrations, the relics of St. John Jacob the New Chozebite from Neamț, one of the holy protectors of Romanians everywhere, were placed for veneration. The pilgrimage takes place in compliance with the sanitary rules and ends on Thursday evening.

Photography courtesy of / Mircea Florescu

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