Thousands of believers flocked to venerate Bucharest’s Patron Saint Demetrius the New at the patriarchal Divine Liturgy presided over by His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel last Saturday, October 27.
Concelebrants for the Divine Liturgy included several Romanian hierarchs, but also Metropolitan Naum of Ruse as representative of Bulgaria, St Demetrius’s homeland, and Bishop Qais of Erzurum on behalf of the Antioch Patriarchate.
In his homily, the Patriarch of Romania pointed to the life of St Demetrius the New and that of St Callinicus of Cernica, whose holy relics joined the festivities in Bucharest.
In his speech, the Patriarch recalled how St Callinicus supported the construction of the Romanian People’s Salvation Cathedral and why is pilgrimage important for Christians.
Humble monk Demetrius
Referring to St Demetrius the New, His Beatitude reminded that he was a simple monk who lived in fast, prayer, simplicity and great discretion. The saint lived in the 13th century during the Second Bulgarian Empire.
Being a herder of cattle, the Saint ‘reached spiritual perfection having the joy to live in solitude rather than among other people.’
Patriarch Daniel spoke about the moment when the Saint’s holy relics arrived in Bucharest and stressed Saint Demetrius’s protection over the Patriarchal Cathedral.
‘He was less known during his earthly life, but he became renowned after his soul entered the Heavens,’ the patriarch said.
Venerable Demetrius the New shows us that he who unites himself with Christ through prayer, repentance, and the Holy Sacraments ‘becomes a chosen vessel of the Holy Spirit.’
His Beatitude said that holiness enters the body through the soul. ‘That is why the relics of the Saints remain incorrupt, as a sign of the Holy Spirit’s work in the human nature.’
‘In the Saints we honour God’s work in the human nature,’ His Beatitude said.
Saint Callinicus of Cernica
The relics of Saint Callinicus were brought to Bucharest to join the festivities, given that this year was his 150th death anniversary.
Saint Callinicus was ordained to the Episcopacy at the Sts Constantine and Helen Patriarchal Cathedral.
Patriarch Daniel noted that Saint Callinicus ‘was a humble, pious monk, a man of prayer and of mercy. Everything he had he was offering to the poor.’
The Saint once said ‘after my death don’t look for silver or gold, for I gave them to the poor.’
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel said that St Callinicus was ‘a great erudite and a fervent militant for the unification of the Romanian Principalities.’
St Callinicus ‘has lent a hand’ to help the construction of the National Cathedral
According to the Patriarch, St Callinicus was a good organizer and was ‘passionate about building churches, since he had an inclination towards architecture.’
‘At the conclusion of the construction works, he always climbed the church’s roof and placed the cornerstone.’
Referring to the fact that a day before the main bell tower vault was completed at the New Cathedral, His Beatitude said that ‘while in Bucharest, Saint Callinicus has lent us a hand to help, because he was used to complete the construction works at monasteries himself.’
St Demetrius the New’s Vestment goes to Bulgaria
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, Patriarch Daniel presented the Metropolitan of Ruse with a vestment with which St Demetrius the New’s holy relics were clothed for a long time.
The vestment will be enshrined at Basarabov Monastery in Bulgaria.
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Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro