His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel awarded Wimbledon tennis champion Simona Halep the Romanian Patriarchate’s highest distinction during a private ceremony held on Thursday at the patriarchal residence in Bucharest.
Simona received the Patriarchal Cross for laypersons after winning her second Grand Slam title.
‘Simona is for many young people today a symbol of diligence, perseverance and hope. We are glad to emphasise that all her achievements are the expression of talent cultivated through sustained, constant effort,’ the Patriarch of Romania said July 18.
‘Besides all these, the Church, dear Simona, greatly appreciates the fact that you profess publicly the Orthodox Christian faith through the sign of the Holy Cross, thus showing that you faithfully represent the devout, sacrificial and skilled Romanian people,’ the Patriarch added.
‘We wish you many years with good health and joy, and much help from God,’ His Beatitude said offering Simona the diploma and the Patriarchal Cross.
The Wimbledon champion thanked His Beatitude for the high distinction saying that she is honoured and very excited at the same time.
‘I always thank God for everything He gave me and for the family I grew up in,’ Simona Halep underscored.
‘I am happy to be Romanian, I am happy to be on this earth and I hope to make as many people and children happy, to inspire them to achieve what they want.’
‘Glory to the Lord and God to bless us all!’ concluded the Wimbledon champion.
Simona Halep also received from Patriarch Daniel a Centenary Edition of the Bible.
The event was attended by Halep’s parents and other close persons, as well as patriarchal counsellors, clergy, and the staff of the Patriarchal Residence.
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene