Saturday morning, His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, presided over the Divine Liturgy at the St Gregory the Enlightener Chapel of his patriarchal residence.
On this year’s feast of Saint Gregory the Enlightener of Greater Armenia, Sept. 30. His Beatitude Daniel celebrates his 10th anniversary of enthronement as Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Concelebrants for the festive Divine Liturgy included: Their Graces Varlaam of Ploiesti, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch, and Timotei of Prahova, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Bucharest, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Paisie Teodorescu, patriarchal vicar, and Archimandrite Ciprian Gradinaru, priest at the Chapel of the National Cathedral.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the patriarch addressed those present pointing to the holy life of Saint Gregory the Enlightener of Greater Armenia. His Beatitude reflected on several important facts in the life of the Saint:
· The suffering he bore for his faith, how he remained in a pit for fourteen years;
· The miraculous healing of emperor Tiridates and bringing Armenians to the Christian faith;
· The construction of many places of worship;
· The participation at the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea (325 AD);
· The creation of the Armenian alphabet and the translation of the Bible into Armenian;
· Numerous miracles and healings.
The patriarch pointed to the fact that Saint Gregory is called a martyr by the Church even though he did not receive a martyr’s death. The Church ranked him among the martyrs because he suffered greatly during his life.
His Beatitude offered Saint Gregory the Enlightener as a missionary model and an example for all Christians who live far from their homeland.
‘St Gregory calls all believers who live among strangers to remember their homeland and to strengthen their faith in Christ’ the patriarch said, adding that St Gregory urges everyone who does not know Christ to draw near to Him.
Patriarch Daniel went on to reflect on the hesychastic life of Saint Gregory pointing to the Saint’s powerful and fruitful prayer. ‘At the end of his earthly life’, the patriarch said, ‘he wished for quietude, and fervently desired to talk to Christ’, so he left his hierarchical ministry to prepare for his passing away to the Lord.
The patriarch said that following St Gregory’s example, many holy Metropolitans of Moldavia and other hierarchs withdrew from their office and completed the remaining time of their lives in prayer, preparing for a Christian end, meaning that they searched for the Kingdom of Heaven above all things.
The patriarch recalled that we can enter the Kingdom of God only if during our earthly life we serve Christ with total self-sacrifice. Therefore, eternal life is acquired by those who spend well the time of their earthly life in prayer, good deeds, repentance, spiritual feats and gratitude to God.
At the end of his speech, the patriarch urged everyone to be aware of the gifts received from God and thanked for the bounties that God bestowed upon him during the ten years of patriarchal ministry.
‘We thank God for all the bounties received from Him through the intercessions of the Saints who often help us beyond our awareness to fulfil the sacred work of God, unto the glory of the All-Holy Trinity’, the patriarch said.
After the Divine Liturgy, His Grace Bishop Timotei of Prahova officiated a Doxology (Te Deum) at the St George Chapel of the patriarchal residence, in the presence of the patriarch, and other officials.
Credit: Robert Nicolae / Basilica.ro