‘We are blessed when we see young people in the church getting to know each other better, praying together, chanting together, discovering spiritual and cultural values every year with new freshness,’ the Patriarch of Romania said on Thursday being welcomed in Craiova for the opening of the International Meeting of Orthodox Youth.
Patriarch Daniel was welcomed at the airport and then received at the Cathedral of Craiova by Metropolitan Irineu of Oltenia, hierarchs, local and state officials and by the young people who had already arrived in the city for the year’s Orthodox Christian Youth event.
“This year God has blessed Oltenia and the young people who come here to intensify their knowledge of the Orthodox faith and especially the inter-Orthodox communion in a time of much individualistic fragmentation and in a time of great need for sincere, humble and generous love”, said the Patriarch upon his welcome at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Craiova.
Greeting the Patriarch, Metropolitan Irineu described the atmosphere and his spiritual state by quoting one of King David’s psalms: ‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity’ (Psalm 133:1).
The Patriarch of Romania noted that, as the ITO 2019 Hymn says, Craiova is a “Latin province” loved by Saint Constantine the Great who sent missionaries there to strengthen the faith received from Saint Andrew the Apostle.
“The Latin and then Christian Oltenia has resisted in history all the waves of migratory peoples and has transmitted from generation to generation, with much sacrifice, the Orthodox faith,” His Beatitude underscored Sept. 5.
“In Oltenia people were born with a lot of courage and a spirit of sacrifice – political and cultural personalities, rulers of the Romanian Country, who were founders of holy places and founders of culture,” added the Patriarch, recalling that the era of Brâncoveanu was named a “cultural monarchy”.
“We pray to the Good God that these days of meeting of the young Orthodox from Romania, from around the country’s borders, from the Romanian diaspora and other sister Orthodox Churches, will be an occasion of blessing and joy to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity and the benefit of the Church and our joy”.
Ending his speech, Patriarch Daniel presented the Metropolitan of Oltenia with several gifts for the Cathedral of Saint Demetrius of Craiova, including a blessing cross, a kilogram of frankincense and religious books.
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene