Moscow; Bucharest, June 1, 2018
The International Day of Protection of Children is celebrated throughout the world annually on June 1. The holiday was established by decision of the Women’s International Democratic Federation congress in November 1949, and was first celebrated in 1950.
There are traditionally various events held on this day in many countries of the world dedicated to the protection of children, including anti-abortion activities. Charity events are often held to collect money for seriously ill children as well. The day has been well received by Local Orthodox Churches.
Since 2016, the Russian Orthodox Church has also celebrated the joint memory of the holy, right-believing spouses Grand Prince Dimitry Donskoy and Grand Duchess Eudoxia (Euphrosyne in monasticism) on this day. The date is no coincidence, as the saints were the parents of twelve children, and their life, according to the chronicles, was an example of marital fidelity and harmony.
The Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church has also established the Sunday following the Day of Protection of Children as the Day of Parents and Children.
In his address for the day, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill noted that every person needs kindness and love, but especially vulnerable children. “Our duty is to take care of children and protect them, for the Savior Himself says, And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me (Mt. 18:5).”
However, unfortunately, the sin of abortion rages today, including in Russia. “And this happens by the evil of the human will,” the patriarch declared, “As if it’s not for us that the words of the Lord rang out with a fearsome warning, that if someone shall offend one of these little ones … it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea (Mt. 18:6).”
Emphasizing the need to provide comprehensive assistance to expectant mothers, so they would not feel pressure to have an abortion, His Holiness ends his address by calling on all to contribute to the Church-wide cause of assistance to pregnant women in difficult circumstances.
In his message for The International Day of Protection of Children and the upcoming Day of Parents and Children, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania noted that the situation of the Christian family nowadays and a deep understanding of its spiritual vocation are priorities for the Romanian Church’s missionary work in society today.
“The family is the crown of creation and the place or environment in which child begins to understand the mystery of God’s parental love for all people,” the patriarch writes, although the family is in a “profound spiritual crisis” due to secularization today. Thus, there is an ever-growing need for Christian education.
“Children born in the family and baptized in the Church in the name of the Most Holy Trinity may become citizens of the everlasting Heavenly Kingdom if in their earthly life they have cultivated the spiritual gifts received at holy Baptism,” the Romanian primate continues, “In order to further contribute to the spiritual growth of the Christian family, the Romanian Patriarchy pays special attention to the religious education of children and young people, offering them the opportunity to develop their capacity for active participation in the life and activity of parish communities.”
Pat. Daniel then urges all parents to spend more time with their children and to help them cultivate their natural gifts and the desire to do good. Likewise, he urges children to love their parents and pray for them.
“On this particular day, we pray to God, the Father of Light, from Whom comes every good gift and every perfect gift (James 1:17), to give Romanian parents and children, both in the country and abroad , peace, health, and much help in life, for the joy of the family, the Church and the Romanian people,” the patriarch concludes.
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