Message of His Beatitude DANIEL, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, addressed to the participants in the 23rd edition of the “Pavleia” International Congress, Veria, 26-29 June 2017:
The Romanian Orthodox Church has gladly received also this year the invitation to participate in the works of the “Pavleia” International Congress dedicated to Holy Apostle Paul, the founder of the Metropolis of Veria, a congress reaching its 23rd edition through the special care of the Primate of this diocese, His Eminence Panteleimon, Metropolitan of Veria, Naousa and Kampania.
The theme chosen to be discussed this year “War and Peace in Saint Paul’s Vision” is particularly important because everyone’s life can be fully cultivated only in peace and in harmony with God, with humans and with the natural environment.
Expressions such as “the God of peace” (Romans 16:20) or “the fruit of the Spirit is … peace …” (Galatians 5:22) or “Peace be upon the brethren and love with faith from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 6:23) are not only salutations and blessings repeated in Saint Paulʼs epistles, but also virtues that must be cultivated by each Christian in the effort to prepare for the attainment of salvation and eternal life. Therefore, peace is Godʼs gift and it must be earnestly sought, received with gratitude and permanently cultivated in the human soul, in family and in the life of society. Where there is no more peace there are troubles, tensions, violence, conflicts and even wars that kill people and destroy material goods.
In the context of today’s world, often disturbed by violence and terrorism, armed conflicts, wars and ample refugee migrations, the prophetic voice of Holy Apostle Paul calls us to seek the peace of Christ “that overwhelms all the mind” (Philippians 4:7) and become peacemakers, that is people who, through prayer, dialogue and action, can prevent or settle conflicts in society or among peoples. The saints of the Orthodox Church say that social peace depends greatly on the spiritual peace of the soul when the human being expresses this peace in love towards God and towards fellow humans.
In this sense, Holy Apostle Paul teaches that the spiritual struggle of the Christian against selfish, individual or collective passions, such as greed for wealth and power, injustice, pride, envy, hatred and violence, aims at pacifying the soul and gaining social peace and holiness: “seek peace with everybody, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
Let us pray more intensely to the Most Holy Trinity, to the Mother of God, to Holy Apostle Paul, and to all the saints who are peacemakers to bless all the participants in the work of this congress aiming at promoting peace today in the family, among the people in society and among all the peoples of the world.
Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church