BOR no. 3/2020 Contents

Blessing families and school for the beginning of the school year

The address delivered by His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel, at the beginning of the new school year 2020-2021 for all pupils,

parents and teachers in pre-university education ............7

Pastoral letters

Pastoral letter of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church for the first Sunday in the Lord’s Nativity fast 2020.............11

Christ’s humble love grants eternal life

Pastoral letter of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel for the feast of Lord’s Nativity  ................21

Events

Blessing for the new academic year

The address delivered by His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel, at the beginning of the new academic year 2020-2021..........................................31 

Awarding of prizes and  vernissage of the exhibition for the National Contest „The Orthodox Icon – Light of the Faith” (9 September),

Andrei Butu.................................33

Anniversary of a decade from the consecration of the Episcopal
Cathedral of Caransebeș (12-13 septembrie) - Ștefana Totorcea, Gabriel Rădășanu..................41

Religious events dedicated to the Centennial celebrations of the re-establishment of Oradia diocese (19-20 September)

- Andrei Butu, Gabriel Rădășanu...........................49 

The 13th edition of the National Congress „Christ Shared to the Children” (28-30 September),

 Vasile-Robert Nechifor..............75

The 13th anniversary of the enthronement of His Beatitude Daniel as Patriarch of Romania (30 September), 

Vasile-Robert Nechifor...........79

The General Assembly of „Filantropia” Federation of the Romanian Patriarchate (5-6 October), 

Sorin Ioniţe.............87

Events dedicated to Blessed Demetrios the New, the Patron Saint of Bucharest (27 octombrie)

 - Deacon Marinel Laurențiu Marcu........91

Donate blood, save life! The blood donation campaign conducted by the Romanian Patriarchate (2014 - 2020) must intensify!

- THE PRESS OFFICE of the Romanian Patriarchate............ 118

Te Deum officiated at the Patriarchal Cathedral on the National Day of Romania (1 December) - Andrei Butu..............120

Celebrating the name day of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania (17 December), 

Andrei Butu, Ștefana Totorcea.........125

 

The work agenda of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church (1 September - 31 December 2020) ...135

Studies

Liturgical aspects addressed by the Great Code of Law of Târgovişte - Archimandrite Assoc. Prof. Vasile Miron..............157 

Romanian Orthodox Diaspora

Online Congress of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the United States of America (4-5 September), Pr. Daniel Ene.....177

The 11th edition of NEPSIS Congress of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolis of Western and Southern Europe (MOREOM) (25-27 September),

Iulian Dumitraşcu................ 188

Romanian Orthodox church consecrated in Tokyo, Japan (3 November)

Vasile-Robert Nechifor.....................191 

Congress of the Youth in the Romanian Orthodox Metropolis of the Americas (14-15 November), 

Pompiliu Gîrlonța............194 

Orthodoxy in dialogue

Patriarchal Encyclical for the Protection of the Environment, 2020

Address of His All-Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople 

– the New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, on the beginning of the new liturgical year,

 1 September 2020 – English-Romanian translation by Aurelian Iftimiu...................201

Presentation visit to the Romanian Patriarchate of Her Excellency Ms Laurence Auer,

 ambassador of France to Bucharest (16 November)

The Department for Church and Inter-Religious Relations and Romanian Ecclesiastical Communities Abroad........208

A wise, conciliatory shepherd – Patriarch Irinej of Serbia

Message of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church,

for the funerals of Patriarch Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church, 22 November 2020.... 211

 Restitutions

Christian Charity, Teodor M. Popescu.......217

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Binecuvântare pentru familie şi şcoală la început de an şcolar - DANIEL,
Patriarhul Bisericii Ortodoxe Române


Mesajul Preafericitului Părinte Patriarh Daniel la începutul noului an școlar 2020-2021 pentru toţi elevii, părinţii şi cadrele didactice din învăţământul preuniversitar


Cu dragoste părintească, binecuvântăm pe toţi elevii, părinţii, învățătorii şi profesorii din învăţământul preuniversitar, la începutul anului şcolar 2020-2021.

Sfântul Sinod al Bisericii Ortodoxe Române a declarat anul 2020 An omagial al pastoraţiei părinţilor şi copiilor. Prin această iniţiativă, sunt ajutaţi atât părinţii, cât şi copiii să cultive reciproc iubirea în familie şi să preţuiască credinţa şi educaţia, ca fiind principalele lumini ale vieţii în societate.

Educaţia este prioritatea fundamentală a oricărei societăţi care doreşte dezvoltarea spirituală şi prosperitatea materială a poporului. În dezvoltarea unei educaţii autentice pentru viaţă, Familia, Biserica şi Şcoala sunt chemate să ofere copiilor ajutorul necesar dezvoltării lor atât în plan personal, cât şi comunitar, după îndemnul înţeleptului rege Solomon: „Păzeşte, fiule, povaţa tatălui tău şi nu lepăda îndemnul mamei tale… Că povaţa este un sfeşnic bun şi legea o lumină, iar îndemnurile care dau învăţătură sunt calea vieţii” (Pildele lui Solomon 6, 20, 23).

Într-o lume marcată de tendinţe ideologice individualiste şi secularizante, care slăbesc unitatea familiei şi pacea socială, este esenţială cultivarea unei legături statornice şi a unei cooperări rodnice între Familie, Biserică şi Şcoală.

În Familie şi în Biserică, părinţii trupeşti şi duhovniceşti sunt chemaţi să-i înveţe pe copii iubirea faţă de Dumnezeu şi de semeni, prietenia, solidaritatea, hărnicia, dărnicia şi recunoştinţa, să îi încurajeze să descopere bucuria jocului şi a cunoaşterii, dar şi frumuseţile naturii şi ale culturii româneşti.

La Şcoală, profesorii care predau diferitele discipline de învăţământ sunt apreciaţi când oferă elevilor o învăţare motivantă, activă şi creativă. Pe lângă cunoştinţe necesare promovării examenelor naţionale, o şcoală bună îi învaţă pe copii şi tineri să cultive libertatea şi responsabilitatea, dar şi să cunoască valorile spirituale şi culturale, româneşti şi europene.

Din cauza pandemiei, începutul acestui an şcolar are loc într-o perioadă foarte dificilă, privind sănătatea individuală şi colectivă. De aceea, în special la şcoală trebuie respectate cu multă atenţie regulile sanitare de protejare a sănătăţii elevilor şi a cadrelor didactice.

Precum în anii precedenţi, şi la începutul acestui nou an şcolar, parohiile vor continua să ajute cu rechizite şcolare pe elevii din familiile defavorizate. Acest ajutor material se adaugă la cele 5000 de tablete oferite deja de Biserica noastră multor copii din zone defavorizate.

Cu prilejul începutului anului şcolar 2020-2021, ne rugăm lui Dumnezeu să îi ocrotească pe toţi elevii, părinţii, învăţătorii şi profesorii, să le dăruiască sănătate şi mult ajutor, pace şi bucurie, pentru ca lucrarea lor să fie o binecuvântare pentru familie, şcoală şi pentru întreg poporul român!


Preafericitul Părinte Daniel, Patriarhul Bisericii Ortodoxe Române – membru de onoare al Academiei Române și autor a zeci de lucrări și peste 1.ooo de studii și articole în periodicele din țară și străinătate. E-mail: cabinet.patriarhal@patriarhia.ro


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Aniversarea unui deceniu de la târnosirea Catedralei Episcopale din Caransebeș / Anniversary of a decade from the consecration of the Episcopal Cathedral of Caransebeș (12-13 septembrie)


Ștefana Totorcea, Gabriel Rădășanu


Keywords: consecration, the Romanian Orthodox Bishopric of Caransebeș, Cathedral, message, congratulation and blessing


În zilele de 12-13 septembrie, Episcopia Caransebeşului a organizat o serie bogată de manifestări liturgice, teologice şi cultural-spirituale, dedicate aniversării a 10 de ani de la sfinţirea noii Catedralei Episcopale a Caransebeşului (2010), 50 de ani de viaţă şi 20 de ani de slujire arhierească a Preasfinţitului Părinte Lucian, Episcopul Caransebeşului. Cu acest prilej a fost săvârșită Sfânta Liturghie, de Înaltpreasfințitul Părinte Ioan, Mitropolitul Banatului, înconjurat de un sobor de ierarhi, preoți și diaconi. La eveniment au fost prezente autorități centrale, județene și locale și mulțime de credincioși.

The city of Caransebeș dressed up festively on the 12th and the 13th  of September 2020, ten years having elapsed since the consecration of the new Cathedral of the Romanian Orthodox Bishopric of Caransebeș, since fifty years of life and twenty years of hierarhical service of His Grace Father Lucian, Bishop of Caransebeș.
In an impulse of natural joy and common prayer at this anniversary hour, there could not be missing from the feast of the City of Caransebeș His Eminence Father Archbishop Timotei and His Grace Father Emilian Crișanul, hierarchs of the City of Arad, whose spiritual disciple is His Grace Father Lucian, Bishop of Caransebeș.
To these three Hierarchs did add, in prayer, joy and festive celebration, His Eminence Father Ioan, Metropolitan of Banat, and His Grace Father Nicodim, Bishop of Severin and Strehaia, who, assisted by a group of priests and deacons, celebrated the Holy Liturgy, and took part in the events organized on this occasion. Central, county, and local authorities, as well as crowds of faithful did also participate to the holy service.
On the occasion of twenty years that have elapsed from the consecration by His Beatitude Father Patriarch Daniel of the most representative holy dwelling of the Eparchy of Mountain Banat, having “Saint Prophet Elijah the Tishbite” as a holy patron, the Patriarch of Romania transmitted a message of congratulation and blessing.


Ștefana Totorcea – editor în cadrul Agenției de știri Basilica a Patriarhiei Române; e-mail: stefana.totorcea@basilica.ro
Gabriel Rădășanu – secretar de redacție, Revista Biserica Ortodoxă Română, Buletinul Oficial al Patriarhiei Române; e-mail: gabrielbogdan23@yahoo.com


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Manifestări religioase dedicate Centenarului reînființării Episcopiei Oradiei / Religious events dedicated to the Centennial celebrations of the re-establishment of Oradia diocese (19-20 septembrie)


Andrei Butu, Bogdan-Gabriel Rădășanu


Keywords: religious events, the re-establishment of Oradia diocese, first documentary attestation, Diploma, consecrated, Izbuc Monastery,  Episcopal Cathedral, Oradea,  blessing,  orders and distinctions


 În cadrul evenimentelor prilejuite de împlinirea a 100 de ani de la reînființarea eparhiei după Marea Unire, 340 de ani de la prima atestare documentară a Episcopiei Oradiei și 325 de ani de la menționarea ei și a ierarhului său în Diploma Împăratului austriac Leopold I, Preafericitul Părinte Patriarh Daniel a efectuat o vizită canonică în Episcopia Ortodoxă Română a Oradiei, și a sfințit noua biserică a Mănăstirii Izbuc din județul Bihor precum și noua Catedrală Episcopală din Oradea.


As part of the events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the re-establishment of Oradia diocese after the Great Union, 340 years after its first documentary attestation and 325 years since the mentioning of the diocese and its hierarch in the Diploma of Austrian Emperor Leopold I, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel paid a canonical visit to the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Oradia, and consecrated the new church of Izbuc Monastery, Bihor county, as well as the new Episcopal Cathedral in Oradea. His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel offered his blessing for the two events, and congratulated His Grace Sofronie, bishop of Oradia, the abbot of Izbuc Monastery - archimandrite Mihail Tărău, as well as the clergy and the faithful members of the eparchy, and all those who contributed to the construction and decoration of these two beautiful places of worship. Also, as a token of his appreciation and as a blessing, he also awarded a number of a orders and distinctions. The Head of our Church presented each of the two churches with a set of holy vessels, blessing crosses, candle holders, censers, holy water containers and other items of liturgical use, crafted by the workshops of the Romanian Patriarchate, with several religious books issued by the publishing houses of the Romanian Patriarchate, and with natural incense from Oman. The faithful in attendance were offered little icons, as blessing from His Beatitude.
During the consecration of the Episcopal Cathedral in Oradea, His Grace Sofronie, Bishop of Oradia, remembered in his address two great historic figures who achieved Romanians’ much desired union: Michael the Brave and king Ferdinand the Unifier. He spoke of the links of Voivode Michael the Brave, the first unifier of Romanians, to Oradea: „We think that it is by God’s providence that the new Episcopal Cathedral stands exactly on the spot where our great voivode once set camp.” In 1598 Michael the Brave sent soldiers to  take part in the defense of the fortress of Oradia, besieged by the Turks, and in 1600, exactly 420 years ago, he passed through Oradea as he was heading towards Vienna. This is why, as the bishop said, the equestrian statue of the voivode will naturally be placed in front of the Orthodox cathedral, once the works in the area are completed. As the Episcopal Cathedral of Oradea was consecrated a century after being reactivated after the Great Union, the hierarch also remembered king Ferdinand the Unifier, who in 1919 promised the future bishop Roman Ciorogariu: „Your dream will come true sooner than you expect”. The eparchy was re-established by royal decree in 1920, the year when the Treaty of Trianon was signed, acknowledging Greater Romania. His Grace Bishop Sofronie stated that the consecration of Izbuc Monastery, officiated on Saturday, and that of the Cathedral in Oradea celebrated on Sunday, on the 100th anniversary of the re-establishment of the eparchy, „are offerings to God as thanksgiving for His help in harsh times as well as happy times”. He thanked His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel and the 20 bishops who attended the consecration service, the authorities who endorsed this project, and „all priests, monastics and devout Christians in the eparchy who dreamed, worked, hoped and succeeded”.


Andrei Butu – redactor în cadrul departamentului „Actualitatea religioasă” al Ziarului Lumina; e-mail: andrei.ziarullumina@gmail.com


 

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Trei zile de pelerinaj și rugăciune neîntreruptă în vreme de pandemie. Manifestările dedicate sărbătorii Sfântului Cuvios Dimitrie cel Nou, Ocrotitorul Bucureştilor / Three days of pilgrimage and continuous praying in times of pandemic. Events dedicated to Blessed Demetrios the New, the Patron Saint of Bucharest (25-27 octombrie)


Diac. Marinel Laurențiu Marcu


Keywords: the Patriarchal Cathedral, pilgrimage, the feast Blessed Demetrios the New, Holy Liturgy and vigil services,  incessant praying, Hill of Joy

În acest an, marcat de pandemia Covid-10, pelerinajul dedicat sărbătorii Sfântului Cuvios Dimitrie cel Nou, Ocrotitorul Bucureştilor, a fost organizat doar pentru o perioadă de trei zile (25-27 octombrie). În toate cele trei zile, la Catedrala Patriarhală, au fost oficiate Sfinte Liturghii și slujbe de priveghere. De asemenea, în ziua de 25 octombrie, sfintele moaște ale Sfântului Cuvios Dimitrie cel Nou au fost scoase în procesiune și au fost așezate spre închinare credincioșilor, în baldachinul din apropierea Catedralei Patriarhale, alături de moaștele Sfinților Împărați Constantin și Elena, ale Sfântului Nectarie de la Eghina și ale Sfântului Stelian, ocrotitorul copiilor. Racla cu moaștele Sfântului Stelian Paflagonul, ocrotitorul copiilor, a fost adusă la Catedrala Patriarhală de la biserica bucureșteană Sfântul Stelian Lucaci pentru a marca Anul omagial al pastorației părinților și copiilor în Patriarhia Română. În ziua sărbătorii Sfântului Cuvios Dimitrie cel Nou (27 octombrie), Sfânta Liturghie arhierească a fost săvârșită, la Altarul de vară de lângă Catedrala Patriarhală, de Preafericitul Părinte Patriarh Daniel alături de un sobor restrâns de ierarhi, preoţi şi diaconi, în prezența a 200 de credincioși, care au putut lua parte la slujbă în spațiul special amenajat conform măsurilor sanitare de siguranță.


This year, marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the pilgrimage in honor of the feast Blessed Demetrios the New, the Patron Saint of Bucharest, was held over only three days (25-27 October).

On 25 October, the holy relics of Blessed Demetrius the New were carried in procession and placed to be venerated by the faithful under the canopy adjoining the Patriarchal Cathedral, alongside the relics of Holy Emperor Constantine and Empress Helena, of Saint Nectarios of Aegina and of Saint Stylianus, the protector of children. The reliquary containing the holy relics of Saint Stylianus of Paphlagonia, protector of children, was brought into the Patriarchal Cathedral  from St Stelian Lucaci church in Bucharest, in order to honour the Year dedicated to pastoral care for parents and children within the Romanian Patriarchate.

In each of the three days, Holy Liturgy and vigil services were held at the Patriarchal Cathedral. On Sunday, 25 October, Patriarchal Vicar Bishop Ieronim Sinaitul, together with a synaxis of priests and deacons, celebrated the Holy Liturgy at the summer altar of the Patriarchal Cathedral, and in the evening the Vespers service was officiated in honor of the Holy Great Martyr Demetrios, the Myrrh-Streamer († 306), by Patriarchal Vicar Bishop Varlaam Ploieşteanul. His Grace concluded the Vespers service with a sermon on the life and wonders worked by the Holy Great Martyr Demetrios the Myrrh-Streamer.

Celebrations in honor of the autumn patronal feast of the Patriarchal Cathedral  continued on the second day of the pilgrimage. On Monday, 26 October, the feast of Holy Great Martyr Demetrios the Myrrh-Streamer, began with the celebration of the Holy Liturgy at the Summer Altar of the Patriarchal Cathedral, by His Grace Varlaam Ploieşteanul, Patriarchal Vicar Bishop, together with a small synaxis of priests – counsellors in the Administration of Patriarchate and the Eparchial Administration of Bucharest Archdiocese. On Monday evening, the eve of the feast of Blessed Demetrios the New, the Patron Saint of Bucharest,  the pilgrims present on the Hill of Joy attended the Vigil service, celebrated in honor of the Saint by His Grace Timotei Prahoveanul, Vicar Bishop of Bucharest Archdiocese, together with a small synaxis of priests in the service of the Patriarchal Cathedral.

After two days of pilgrimage and incessant praying, the events dedicated to Blessed Demetrios the New, the Patron Saint of Bucharest, culminated on Tuesday, 27 October, on the Hill of Joy with the celebration of the Holy Liturgy, at the Summer Altar adjoining the Patriarchal Cathedral. In an atmosphere of spiritual peace, with hearts full of faith and hope, numerous people attended the liturgy officiated by His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, alongside a synaxis of bishops, priests and deacons, in the presence of 200 faithful who were admitted in the specially designated area, observing the prescribed safety measures. Observing the prevention measured recommended by authorities, in addition to these 200 devout Christians standing in the designated area in front of the summer altar, many more hundreds of faithful could enjoy the liturgical service as they were passing through the „Saints’ Canopy” and venerated their holy relics, besseching their blessing, protection, help and intercession before the Heavenly Throne for the new epidemic to cease. In his sermon following the Gospel reading, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel spoke about the Kingdom of God, about the Holy Mysteries and the Saints as signs of the presence of God’s Kingdom on earth, about the historic circumstances bringing of the holy relics of Blessed Demetrios the New to Bucharest and about the saint’s miracles, especially during the plague and cholera epidemics of the 19th century. He also spoke of the reason for bringing this year the reliquary containing the relics of Saint Stylianus of Paphlagonia, protector of the children, from Lucaci Church  of Bucharest to the Patriarchal Cathedral.

At the end of the Holy Liturgy service, the Head of the Romanian Orthodox Church thanked all those who had taken part in organizing the pilgrimage and all the pilgrims who attended the events organized this year on the Hill of Joy, in honor of the autumn patronal feast of the Patriarchal Cathedral. He called to prayer, good deeds, brotherly love, charity, faith, trust in the love of Christ and unwavering belief in God’s help in the face of perils, hardships, illness and other tribulations.

The events dedicated to the autumn patronal feast of the Patriarchal Cathedral –  Blessed Demetrios the New, Protector of Bucharest, ended with the hierarchs’ procession to the Patriarchal Residence and the blessing of all the faithful present on the Hill of Joy.


Diac. Marinel-Laurențiu Marcu – Redactor coordonator al Revistei Biserica Ortodoxă
Română, Buletinul Oficial al Patriarhiei Române și doctorand al Școlii de Studii Avansate a
Academiei Române – SCOSAAR; e-mail: marinellmarcu@yahoo.com

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Aspecte liturgice reglementate în Pravila cea Mare de la Târgovişte / Liturgical aspects regulated in the Great Codex of Târgoviște


Arhim. conf. univ. dr. Vasile Miron


Keywords: canon law, public worship, liturgical rules, Great Codex of Târgoviște


Pravila cea Mare sau Îndreptarea Legii este o operă de codificare legislativă românească care cuprinde, atât norme de drept canonic sau bisericesc, cât şi dispoziţii de drept civil, cu scop instructiv şi educativ-moral. Studiul nostru îşi propune să sublinieze numai acele norme şi îndrumări canonice din textul Pravilei care se referă strict la administrarea Sfintelor Taine şi ierurgii, la oficierea Sfintei Liturghii, precum şi la locaşul de cult şi semnificaţia simbolico-mistică a obiectelor liturgice întrebuinţate la săvârşirea serviciului divin. Toate instrucţiunile şi dispoziţiile privitoare la cult şi la noţiunile de practică liturgică expuse în Pravilă sunt fundamentate pe legislaţia canonică a Bisericii noastre Ortodoxe şi pe comentariile şi operele nomocanonice ale celor mai autorizaţi interpreţi ai legilor civile şi bisericeşti, încât putem afirma cu toată certitudinea că prescripţiunile şi îndrumările liturgice consemnate în această Pravilă sunt normative şi călăuzitoare pentru sfinţiţii slujitori ai sfintelor noastre altare.


The canonical directions and provisions with regard to the correct celebration of the Holy Mysteries, hierurgies and Holy Liturgy, which are mentioned in the Great Codex of Târgoviște and which we have systematically presented in this study, are a synthesis of the canonical legislation and of the correct and objective interpretations formulated by the Byzantine canon makers concerning the liturgical ritual and practice according to which the sanctifying works are administrated in the Orthodox Church.
We have referred, in this present study, to the canonical directions and rules in connection with the conditions in which the sanctifying works within the divine cult are performed, namely: the performer and the receiver of the sanctifying works, the dwelling of cult, the holy objects and sacerdotal vestments for liturgical use etc.
All these precise conditions and rules of performing the liturgical rites of the Mysteries, the hierurgies and the Holy Liturgy, as well as some essential aspects connected to the symbolic importance and meaning of the acts of cult exposed in the Great Codex are based on the Creed of the Orthodox Church, on its canonical tradition and legislation and on its liturgical doctrine and practice. The Great Codex is the most complex and comprehensive code of church and state laws in use until the time of the Constitution of modern Romania; as for the canonical dispositions and rules having a liturgical character exposed in its content, they are everlastingly current and correcting for the clergymen and the faithful of our Church.


Arhimandritul Vasile MIRON - conferențiar universitar doctor în cadrul
Facultății de Teologie a Universității „Ovidius” din Constanţa; Email: vasile1960miron@yahoo.com


 

A wise and peaceful spiritual shepherd - Patriarch Irinej of Serbia (2010-2020)

Message of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, at the funerals of Patriarch Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade, 22 November 2020.


Keywords: Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, esteem and compassion, Serbian Orthodox Church, inter-Christian dialogue, memory be eternal 


Your Eminence Hriszostom, Metropolitan of Dabar-Bosnia, Locum-tenens to the Patriarch,

Beloved members of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church,

The news of the departure from this world of our beloved brother in Christ Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, brought sorrow to the hearts of all who knew him and appreciated his steadfastness in the Orthodox faith and the love and wisdom with which he served the Serbian Orthodox Church, in particular, and Orthodoxy, in general.

From the moment of his election as Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church in 2010, the wise Patriarch Irinej understood the times he was living in, in a period of rapid political and social transformation, not only in Serbia, but throughout Europe and the world. The way in which he led the Serbian Orthodox Church strengthened its major role in the life of Serbian society, thus, contributing to the rapprochement of the Church to the people and the people to the Church. He militated for preserving and promoting the faith and values of Orthodoxy in a society affected by secularisation.

Following the prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ "that all may be one" (John 17:21), His Beatitude Irinej distinguished himself as a defender and supporter of both pan-Orthodox unity and inter-Christian and inter-religious efforts for dialogue. In this regard, Patriarch Irinej actively participated in important inter-Orthodox meetings, including the works of the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church (Crete, June 2016) and the meeting of Primates and representatives of the local Orthodox Churches (Amman, Jordan, February 2020).

In the last days of his earthly life, the words of the Holy Apostle Paul: Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and in my flesh I fulfil the afflictions of Christ, for His body, which is the Church (Colossians 1:24) acquired a very special, personal significance, in the context of the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus, which affected millions of people, including many of the servants of the holy altars.

In these moments of sadness that the Serbian Orthodox Church and the entire Orthodoxy are going through, the words of our Saviour Jesus Christ encourage and strengthen us in our hope by His words: the one who believes in Me, even though he dies, will live (John 11:25). This faith in eternal life is a certainty for us, Christians, because Christ, the crucified and risen Son of God, conquered death and passed us from death to life, and gives rest, peace, and light to those who fell asleep in the faith. Therefore, we pray our Lord Jesus Christ, the High Priest of the good things to come (Hebrews 9:11), to establish the soul of Patriarch Irinej in the dwelling place of the saints, where there is no pain, nor sorrow, nor suffering, but life everlasting.

Together with the hierarchs, clergy and faithful of the Romanian Orthodox Church, we address to the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the clergy and the entire faithful Serbian people, entrusting them of our brotherly love, esteem and compassion.

May his memory be eternal!


Preafericitul Părinte Daniel, Patriarhul Bisericii Ortodoxe Române – membru de onoare al Academiei Române și autor a zeci de lucrări și peste 1.ooo de studii și articole în periodicele din țară și străinătate. E-mail: cabinet.patriarhal@patriarhia.ro


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Caritatea creştină / Christian charity - Teodor M. Popescu


Articol publicat în Revista BOR LXVIII, nr. 1-3/1945, pp. 20-66


Keywords: Pagan antiquity, martiryc heroism, Christian charity, Church philantrophy, charitable institutions


Articolul prezintă numeroase mărturii despre actele de caritate creştină ale Bisericii primelor veacuri. Autorul încearcă să arate, cu câteva mărturii şi fapte din viaţa vechilor creştini, cum s-a pus şi cum s-a rezolvat, în viaţa lor grea şi eroică, problema carităţii creştine. Care este datoria ei, programul ei, care sunt mijloacele ei, care sunt posibilităţile şi roadele ei, care sunt necesităţile, sensul spiritual şi roadele acesteia. Nu există o operă practică filantropică mai îndelungată, mai variată şi mai rodnică decât a Bisericii, nici teren de acţiune caritabilă mai întins decât al ei. El este azi mare cât lumea şi plin de greutăţi. Cu atât mai bine, atât timp cât vom avea credinţă şi dragoste creştină, nimic pe lume nu ne poate opri de a face binele. Împotriva lui nu poate fi piedică.


Christians have contributed the most beautiful pages in the history of humanity through their love for God and their fellow people. Martyric heroism and evangelical charity have elevated man to the highest degree of virtue, offering moral teachings never paralleled and not even conceivable outside Christianity. From the outset, Christianity was indeed paradoxical: Christians would lead an unusual life, angelically virtuous and otherworldly pure. Pagan Antiquity, whose culture has bequeathed to us many admirable things, was however unable to surpass in the moral realm some beautiful precepts (such as the Stoic ones) or some individual generous deeds or virtues, which however were exceptions. The society as a whole was never touched and pervaded by great  ideas and sublime feelings, such as those governing the astonishing life of Christians, a life of unfathomable love. It was something completely new, unknown and never experienced until then.

„God is love,” was the Christian teaching. Certainly, the old world had also known love, but not the divine one, and Christians renewed and transformed the moral life of humanity with their  evangelical love, love for one’s neighbour – that is for every man, even one’s enemy.

Pagan generosity, extended by either individuals or the state – which actually did spend great amounts – was liberality, rather than charity, because it was not motivated by love. Aid was offered out of political, social or demographic interests, out or pride, ambition or vanity.

The social burden of the Church was heavy and difficult, but it carried this burden willingly despite the hardships entailed by persecutions. The Church first proceeded to identify and know all the needs, deprivations, sufferings. The names of the poor or ailing were registered and they regularly received aids. Together with the material support, the afflicted ones also received comfort and brotherly encouragement from the community. The bishops had to love the poor, and act as compassionate protectors, on a holy mission.

The Church was a charitable institution not only as a community, but also through every individual Christian. Thus Christian charity circulated within the Church and in the world, as a new way of life, relieving suffering,  alleviating pain and bringing about general spiritual elevation, perfecting human soul. From Christian to Christian, from community to community, it created brotherly bonds in the spirit of evangelical love. The bond of faith and love united the Christians across the world in one body: Christians were the members, and Christ – the Head of the Church.

Christian charity proved admirable and highly beneficial during the era of persecutions, when the Church itself was poor and destitute; later, after the emperor and the state became Christian, philanthropy also became the task of social institutions, organized and endowed with the necessary means to conduct their meritorious charitable purposes, as the Church gained the support of the state and of sociey in an unprecedented alliance in the world.

The number of Christians later increased considerably. Once a persecuted minority, they became a privileged majority. The social work of the Church thus had to be extended much further, charity work had to be organized in new forms. Coming out of catacombs, prisons, mines, personal homes, hidden assemblies, the Church was thriving and now operated openly, was able to address broader social issues, seek sustainable solutions, find richer sources than the contributions of the poor. It now worked overtly and sought to assist, correct and save not only individuals, but the entire society and the whole world. Individual, personal charitable acts were thus paralleled by public, institutional philanthropy, in order to meet the needs of the society.

Saint Basil the Great and Saint John Chrysostom in the East, Saint Ambrosius and Blessed Augustine in the West, followed by every bishop in his own eparchy, preached and embodied Christian charity with unwavering zeal and determination. Their writings provide a Christian apology of mercy, which is a Christian economic-social doctrine, highly „advanced” in the case of Saint John Chrysostom.

The hospital was a new, very important form of charity, which the world adopted after the model of the Church. Saint John Chrysostom, who had found a hospital in Constantinople, established six more. Charitable establishments and deeds are part of the astonishing charitable work of Saint Basil the Great, a model of Christian love and organization. He created a complete, fully-fledged charitable institution, unique even in the history of Christianity. His Basiliad was a wondrous work of evangelical love. Such great achievement could not only earn the admiration and inspire emulation from the part of Christians, but also stir the envy of heretics or pagans.

Christian charity was not confined to almsgiving; it did not simply provide material support, but hearts and souls were dedicated to bringing relief and joy to the suffering ones. Christian compassion was the novel, active and strong feeling which animated and ennobled man and which turned the primitive man of nature into the better man of culture. The religion of mercy, through its lovingkindness, revealed and humanized the true man.

Almsgiving is sacrifice and service to God, sharing with others the goods we have from Him out of our love for God and for our neighbour; it is an act that earns salvation. Whoever deems Christian charity to be a weakness, forgets that almsgiving is sacrifice, thus a heroic moral act of self-sacrifice, selflessness, self-giving, that is, an instantiation of the highest moral stance. Those who are selfish, greedy, mean, proud, are much weaker and inferior to the generous persons, and a giver’s merit is greater as he is poorer.

The Church has the right to command attention and respect, in the name of Jesus Christ and of Christian charity. It had improved human character, changed interpersonal reationships, bridged social gaps, abolished vices, brought people together, turned them into a fraternity and placed each person in the service of their neighbour. Christian charity is not simply a virtue among others, but the sum of all virtues; it is not one humanitarian notion among others, but an ideal and philosophy of life, it is a new way of living.


Teodor M. Popescu (1893-1973) - teolog, profesor universitar, traducător, scriitor și ziarist român. Este considerat unul dintre numele proeminente ale teologiei europene din secolul XX.


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