International Orthodox Christian News

Pastoral letter of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, to Most Rev. Siluan, Romanian Orthodox Bishop of Italy, to the clergy and faithful of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Italy, on the Sunday of the Holy Cross, the 3rd of the Great Lent, March 22, 2009:

From the Suffering of the Cross to the Hope of the Resurrection

– Pastoral letter to Romanians in Italy –

Your Grace,

Reverend Fathers,

Beloved faithful,

As a result of the facts brought to the attention of the Holy Synod, on February 26, 2009, by Right Rev. Siluan, Romanian Orthodox Bishop of Italy, concerning the situation of Romanians in Italy and as a result of the request for a Pastoral letter from Us, which would express the communion of the entire Romanian Orthodox Church with its sons in Italy, We have decided to send you a Pastoral letter on this Sunday of the Holy Cross, the third of the Great Lent of the Holy Easter. The i>Sunday of the Holy Cross is found at the middle of the struggles of the Great Lent as a “sign” of the suffering of Christ, and, at the same time, of His victory over human weaknesses and, most of all, over the evil of sin.

That is why, looking at the Cross of Christ which faces us in church, on this feast, we are venerating it singing “before Thy Cross we bow down in worship, O Master, and Thy holy Resurrection we glorify.” Thus the Cross is for us not only a commemoration of the suffering and death of our Savior Christ, but also a sign of the victory and grace of the Resurrection of Christ, which is anticipated or foreshadowed by today’s Sunday. Today we are invited to contemplate from the heights of Golgotha the luminous horizon of Resurrection. Let us enter the mystery of the Cross which carries hidden within the light and joy of the Resurrection, “for through Cross joy has come to the entire world”. The connection between the suffering of the Cross and the grace of the Resurrection can also be seen during the presentation of the Gospel during the Holy Liturgy, which symbolizes the beginning of our Lord Christ’s preaching, when we are singing “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” (NIV Matthew 5, 11).

Thus the unjust persecution and suffering is transfigured through the passion, death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Whom today’s Sunday is presenting to us as filled with humble love and unwavering kindness, as He does not answer to evil with evil, neither to hate with hate. We are thus thinking that on this Sunday of the Holy Cross, we can also better understand the suffering caused by the slandering and accusation of all Romanians in Italy for some evil deeds by only a few of our members of our nation. We are thus seeing how passion-filled and unjust thinking mistakes without discernment the part for its whole and those guilty for those innocent.

In this situation, however, we are greatly helped by the prayers of martyr and confessor saints, who are seeing the patience and strength of Romanian Christians in Italy, in front of the general accusations against them. Also, the prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian is of great help to us in this time of fasting, teaching us to ask ”Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother.

Only by having inside the soul this light of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ, we can vanquish today’s suffering with tomorrow’s hope. Thus, the Christian who is going through tribulations does not despair, but comes out of them even more strengthened, so that he can help those weaker or helpless.

As our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us, Who was praying for those who were persecuting and mocking Him, let us also pray for those who hate us and talk lowly of us, so that God makes them gentler and friendlier. And we are fatherly asking our Orthodox Christian Romanians, who have committed grave acts, to repent and abandon evil deeds.

Romanian brothers in Italy,

Looking at the tribulations you are bearing in these times in Italy, the Mother Church in Romania appreciates the Christian and Romanian witness that you are showing through the way you are protecting your dignity, both on a personal, parochial and diocesan level. The over 20,000 signatures which you have collected so far and which you have given to the Catholic curia who are offering the church in which you are praying, and to the local, provincial and regional authorities, are also a witness to this end.

We cannot overlook the tremendous echo which the ”Cara Italia” (“Dear Italy”) letter has had in both the public and the press in Italy and Romania. That is why we are also encouraging you to a more efficient mobilization, which will lead to the collection of a number of signatures as high as possible, which will witness by itself the number of hard working, peaceful and friendly Orthodox Christian Romanians in Italy.

We are reassuring you that our entire Church, the Holy Synod, the dear parishes where you came from, the holy monasteries in Romania and the Romanians everywhere, are keeping you in their prayers, are appreciating you and are, in spirit, close to you.

Especially, we are addressing thanks to all the women, daughters of our Church, who, sometimes, with the price of the neglect of their own families and own parents in Romania, are humbly caring for the children and elderly of Italian families, sometimes suffering major hardships and even humiliation. We are praying to the Merciful God that He helps and protects them, together with all those who are working in Italy, demonstrating honesty and hard work, dignity and kindness.

Also, we are thinking of all those who, with the price of their sweat, are performing the hardest of jobs, and who, often, are exploited by very low pay, and are even left sometimes without their wages. We are reassuring all of our appreciation and we are asking that God makes them justice, grants them health and support, so that they can bear through all these hardships.

The Romanian Orthodox Church, the Spiritual Mother of the Romanian people, as the great Mihai Eminescu called it, is constantly mentioning in its prayers those in suffering, those in hospitals and nurseries, wishing them speedy recovery and the joy of rejoining those dear.

At the same time, we are thinking of the families who, due to material poverty or other reasons, are separated, either by work trips to Italy by one of the parents, or through the leave of both parents, who let the children to grandparents and relatives in Romania, or sometimes in nobody’s care. We are praying to God to help those in this situation to see their family reunited as soon as possible. To this end, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church has decided that, yearly, the first Sunday after the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (August 15) will be celebrated as the Sunday of Romanian Migrants, through prayers and brotherly talks with the migrants who are spending their vacation in Romania.

A word of special gratefulness we are addressing to Most Rev. Siluan, Romanian Orthodox Bishop of Italy, to our priests and deacons in Italy and to all Romanians and Italians who are appreciating and helping Romanians in this country.

In the end, We are asking God to bless you, to grant you a blessed time of fasting, and the joy and peace of the Holy Easter. May that your stay and activity in Italy to unfold in peace and health, good understanding with those around you and in the defense of the good Christian and Romanian name.

With utmost appreciation, fatherly blessings and prayers to God,

† Daniel,
Patriarch of Romania
President of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church


0 Responses to “From the Suffering of the Cross to the Hope of the Resurrection - Pastoral letter of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel to Romanians in Italy”

Post a Comment


Enter your email address:

OBL Feeds | FeedBurner

Copyrighted | Holymonk Studios |