Church must not forget its higher spiritual calling while engaging in social work—Patriarch Daniel of Romania

Bucharest, July 23, 2020

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It is good and blessed for the Orthodox Church to be involved in social work, helping the less fortunate and showing them the love of Christ, but at the same time, the Church must resist the danger of being reduced to a mere charity, forgetting its higher spiritual calling, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania said at an event in honor of his 69th birthday on Wednesday, July 22.

His Beatitude received many messages of thanks and appreciation for the great social work of the Romanian Church under his watch. Since 2007, the Church has spent $243,335,400 (210 million euros) on charity, with $ 4,634,960 (4 million euros) being spent just during the time of the coronavirus pandemic, reports the Basilica News Agency.

However, while it is good for spirituality to be embodied in acts of merciful love, there is, on the other hand, a great risk, the Patriarch warned.

“People see what the Church is doing in society, what social work it is developing for the common benefit of society. Therefore, it is good for spirituality to be embodied, to be materialized in deeds of merciful love for the people in society who need support, not only morally, but also materially,” he said.

He continued: “Of course, on the other hand, there is a great risk, as seen in the West: When the Church deals only with the social and is reduced to a charitable organization, it forgets its spiritual, liturgical, and sacramental vocation.”

The Church must have, first of all, an intense spiritual life, and this spiritual life must be the foundation for any social and philanthropic work, Pat. Daniel emphasized, citing the words of St. Isaac of Syria: “Pure love is born of prayer.”

“That is why we always try not to separate the Liturgy from philanthropy, but also philanthropy from the Liturgy. We thus maintain a balance and use the time of earthly life as a time of preparation for Heavenly, eternal life,” the Romanian primate highlighted.

We must seek not just temporal, but eternal happiness while on Earth, preparing ourselves for eternal communion with God, he said.

“This is for us the healthy thinking that springs from the Holy Gospel and the writings and the lives of the saints of the Church,” His Beatitude concluded.

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