Pope Francis addresses Romanian Orthodox Bishops: I come as a pilgrim desirous of seeing the Lord’s Face in the faces of my Brothers

Pope Francis on Friday met with Patriarch Daniel and the Permanent Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church telling them he comes ‘as a pilgrim desirous of seeing the Lord’s face in the faces of my Brothers.’

In his address to the Permanent Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, the Pope spoke of the Lord’s resurrection, as being at “the very heart of the apostolic preaching handed down and preserved by our Churches.”

Suffering and sacrifice

He noted that in Romania, as in so many other places nowadays, many had experienced the Passover of death and resurrection in the form of persecution. Pope Francis remembered those who were “martyrs and confessors of the faith”.

What these people suffered, said the Pontiff, “even to the sacrifice of their lives, is too precious an inheritance to be disregarded or tarnished.  It is a shared inheritance, he added, and it summons us to remain close to our brothers and sisters who share it.”

Speaking to those present, the Pope recalled Pope John Paul II’s address to this Holy Synod twenty years ago with the words. “I have come to contemplate the Face of Christ etched in your Church; I have come to venerate this suffering Face, the pledge to you of new hope”.

Pope Francis told them that he too had come to Romania “as a pilgrim desirous of seeing the Lord’s Face in the faces of my Brothers.”

Unity and Remembrance

Pope Francis also recalled the words of Patriarch Teoctist in Bucharest over twenty years ago “Unite, Unite”. The Pope described this proclamation as inaugurating a new time: “the time of journeying together in the rediscovery and revival of the fraternity that even now unites us.”

“The remembrance of steps taken and completed together, he said, encourages us to advance to the future in the awareness – certainly – of our differences, but above all in thanksgiving for a family atmosphere to be rediscovered and a memory of communion to be revived, that, like a lamp, can light up the steps of our journey.”

Journeying together

Journeying together also means listening to the Lord, Pope Francis pointed out, “especially in these more recent years, when our world has experienced rapid social and cultural changes.”

He continued by saying that, “technological development and economic prosperity may have benefited many, yet even more have remained hopelessly excluded, while a globalization that tends to level differences has contributed to uprooting traditional values and weakening ethics and social life, which more recently has witnessed a growing sense of fear that, often skillfully stoked, leads to attitudes of rejection and hate.”

A New Pentecost

The Pope concluded that the, “journey comes to an end, as it did in Emmaus, with the insistent prayer that the Lord remain with us.” He said that, the path before us leads from Easter to Pentecost: from that Paschal dawn of unity that emerged here twenty years ago, we have set out towards a new Pentecost.”

Our own journey has begun anew, Pope Francis emphasized, “with the certainty that we are brothers and sisters walking side by side, sharing the faith grounded in the resurrection of the one Lord.”

Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Mircea Florescu

English text: Vatican News

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