On Friday, May 10, His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, welcomed at his patriarchal residence in Bucharest the United States ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, Sam Brownback.
Also attending the meeting were the Deputy Chief of Mission Abigail Rupp, Riley Barnes and Pauletta Walsh, members of Sam Brownback’s office, Darrin Kowitz and Alexandru Climescu as representatives of the US Embassy to Bucharest.
Earlier, the American delegation had a meeting with a delegation of the Romanian Orthodox Church headed by His Eminence Hon Metropolitan Nifon, Archbishop of Targoviste and representative of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel, at the Palace of the Patriarchate.
During the talks, Samuel Brownback said that he was visiting Romania on behalf of the State Department of the United States of America in order to develop the relationships with the Orthodox world.
His Excellency noted that he had visited the Holy Mount Athos, Greece and Bulgaria, and that following his visit to Romania he would travel to the Republic of Moldova.
During his entire political activity as Congressman, Senator, and Governor, he defended the Christian values and promulgated pro-life legislative measures, understanding the need for a Christian testimony and the existence of influential Christian communities in society.
In addition, Brownback said that in his capacity of religious freedom ambassador he intends to extend the cooperation with the Orthodox Churches in America and throughout the world.
His Eminence Hon Metropolitan Nifon expressed his joy for this openness that can lead to a better understanding of the realities in the Orthodox world, a world faithful to its traditional values, but, at the same time open to contemporary society.
His Eminence pointed to the need of Christian witness and unity in the face of the aggressive ideological trends of secularization and atheism.
Another topic addressed during the meeting was the urgent issue of Christians persecuted on religious reasons. The United States of America carries out international projects for the rebuilding and the development of religious communities in the areas affected by military conflicts.
In this regard, Sam Brownback called on the Orthodox Churches to get involved in this activity, especially because this type of ministry corresponds to Church vocation, and because the Orthodox Church has historic access to those areas.
Metropolitan Nifon reminded that in the Middle East Orthodox Christians represent a religious minority which is extremely exposed to persecution, stressing the need for material support and encouragement.
At the end of the meeting, both delegations were welcomed at the Patriarchal Residence where the His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel was presented with the conclusions reached at the Palace of the Patriarchate.
Press Office of the Romanian Patriarchate
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene