Source: Basilica News Agency
October 23, 2015
Address of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania, to the pilgrims present in Bucharest on the dedication day of the Patriarchal Cathedral, October 23, 2015:
The Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church declared the year 2015 to be the Solemn Year of Parish and Monastery Missions Today and the Commemorative Year of St. John Chrysostom and of the Great Spiritual Shepherds.
In the apostolic and patristic tradition of our Church we encounter many luminous countenances of spiritual shepherds who dedicated their entire lives to the mission of the Church. From amongst the great spiritual shepherds, we chose the wise and great hierarch St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople (347 - †407), to be particularly commemorated this year, because through his life and activity he proved to be a protector of true faith, a teacher of repentance, an illuminator of Christian families and of the monastic life, and a promoter of Christian philanthropy.
Today, by the will of God, we have the joy of greeting on the Hill of the Patriarchate the relics of St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great, and St. Gregory the Theologian, brought in a common reliquary from St. Paul Monastery of Holy Mount Athos, by a delegation of the Orthodox Church of Greece, led by His Eminence Metropolitan Pavlos of Drama, a friend of our Church and of the saints.
The presence in Bucharest during these festive days, from October 23 to 28, of the relics of the Three Holy Hierarchs, together with the relics of St. Demetrius the New and of the Holy Emperors Constantine and Helen, represents a great blessing for all of us: hierarchs, clergy, monastics, faithful pilgrims from home and abroad, but also a sign of fraternal communion between Greek and Romanian Orthodox Christians, between Greece and Romania, between Holy Mount Athos, which is under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the Romanian Patriarchate.
Furthermore, this communion of the saints also represents an occasion to mark two important anniversaries in the life of the Romanian Orthodox Church: the 130th anniversary of the recognition of the autocephaly of the Romanian Orthodox Church (April 1885), and the 90th anniversary of her elevation to the rank of Patriarchate (February 1925).
The Three Holy Hierarchs experienced the truth of the Gospel as a starting point to eternal life even from this world, and taught the right faith and life to their entire flock, as well as those who have read their writings throughout the centuries. The Church uses special titles for these great archpastors: great teachers of the world and hierarchs, holy Fathers of the Church and great spiritual shepherds.
The example of the Three Holy Hierarchs is still alive today. In a disoriented world, lacking milestones, the Three Holy Hierarchs offer authentic models of how we can be true Christians, irrespective of social position or rank. Firstly, they are a model for all servants of the Church who should follow their example in protecting the faith and pursuing holiness. Secondly, they are a model for the leaders of local communities and of the peoples of the world who can learn from them responsibility towards the protection and promotion of the dignity of the human being, created in the image of God. Also for theologians they are a model of dialogue between values of perennial culture and the sciences of the universe, offering thorough explanations of life and the creation of God, on modesty and friendship, on justice and generosity, on passing through earthly life as a time and place to pursue the unperishable heavenly life. If sin, as an egotistical and possessive human existence, leads to violence, quarrels and wars, the Three Holy Hierarchs teach us to live in peace, to pray, to love and help our fellow man in order to inherit eternal life in the light of Christ, in the love of the Most Holy Trinity and in the joyfulness of saints.
Beloved pilgrims, the spiritual joy of having together the honorable relics of St. Demetrius the New, the protector of Bucharest, of the Three Holy Hierarchs: St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. John Chrysostom, encourages us to fulfill the words and deeds of the saints in our lives, to keep their pure thoughts in our mind, and to follow Christ as did they. Thusly we will become true Christians, i.e. witnesses of the merciful love of Christ in our own lives, as the Apostles, Martyrs, Venerable Saints, and all the sacrificial and merciful Christians.
Particularly St. John Chrysostom praised the life and dignity of the saints, and especially of martyrs using words of a rare beauty: “Looking at the saints, these brave athletes full of patience who have been given to us as enlighteners so that we would conduct our lives according to their steadfastness and their patience,” knowing that “all friends of God had a difficult, harsh life full of numerous troubles,” and not an “easy, defiled life full of comfort” (St John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Great Feasts and Praises for the Saints, Bucharest, 2006, p. 514).
Therefore, the saints are our most sure teachers and they are the most faithful friends of man because they are the closest friends of Christ our God.
Today, being confronted with the temptation of secularization, we are taught by the saints that if we forget God we will also easily forget the sacred dimension of human life. The saints teach us to discover the spiritual power to offer ourselves to God and our fellow man, to discover the joy that comes from prayer and good deeds.
We bless and congratulate all those participating in these days of pilgrimage in Bucharest, thus being partakers of the joy of communion in the Kingdom of God, by the veneration of the saints.
We pray to our Savior Jesus Christ, the Three Holy Hierarchs and to St. Demetrius the New, protector of Bucharest, to illumine you, to strengthen you and to grant you healing and health of soul and body, so that you can follow the example of the saints and to become worthy of the grace and light, the peace and joy of the Most Holy Trinity. Amen.
Patriarch of Romania