International Orthodox Christian News

The Message of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel on Veterans' Day



“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

Dear veterans,

Bearing in our souls the joy and richness of the light of our Savior Jesus Christ’s Resurrection, we are receiving the richness of the merciful love of God and the heavenly grace given to us humans, in Jesus Christ, in order for us to participate to the eternal life and joy of the Holy Trinity.

This richness of Christ’s presence was also shared by those who have felt the most the help of the Risen Christ in times of tribulation, namely the martyrs, heroes, veterans, but also all the faithful who are fighting for truth and justice, for freedom and unity or are working to help their fellows in a sincere and charitable way.

The power to endure history, when you cannot change it, is the wisdom and force of survival in the face of the danger of self-destruction and mindless suicide. The Romanian people have survived on this land because it had wisdom, power of sacrifice and patience when it could not vanquish by the power of arms. Through this wise and hopeful endurance, they have survived attacking migrants, greedy imperialists and destructive dictatorships, filling history with the crosses on the tombs of sacrificing heroes and on the churches built as candles of resurrection and hope.

That is why the memory of heroes, the commemoration from one generation to another of those sacrificed for the defense of the faith and of the country, is a true culture of the Romanian soul which feels that love is stronger than death.

The chronicles which note the sacrifice of this people are admirably summarized in the text found on the Arch of Victory in Bucharest, the Romanian capital: “After centuries of suffering, Christianly endured, and after heavy fights for the preservation of the national being, after the defense full of sacrifices of human civilization, finally justice has come also for the Romanian people…” Thus, our liberation was lived as an experience of the power and light of the Risen Christ, because the victory hymn of sacrificial love, “Christ is Risen,” is written on the façade of the Mărăşeşti Mausoleum.

The multitude of heroes and martyrs whom we are humbly commemorating permanently are proving that our people has internalized the mystery of the Cross and the Resurrection and has lived history as a Cross and as a Resurrection, suffering and hope, sorrow and joy, fulfilling the words of Holy Apostle Paul: “I have fought the good fight […] I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). The mystery of the Cross which is being exalted in the grace of the Resurrection is inscribed in the Romanian coat of arms, as a symbol of our history, a sign of great stability, continuity and unity in thought and feeling over the generations and permanent spiritual program.

It is thus appropriate that we address a thankful message to all those who have offered their life in past for our existence today, and, thus, we are all required to honor them with respect and commemorate their sacrifice and struggle, if we are to rediscover ourselves as a nation of Christian kings and martyr heroes.

In the end, we are praying that Christ our Lord grants His grace, of light and eternal life, to the heroes of the Romanian people, granting them holy rest into the hope of Resurrection, and You, honored veterans of war, those who are our inspiration for courage and sacrifice, may He grant good health, peace and joy, teaching us to love our people and our country, to pray and struggle for peace between people, for the glory of God and the salvation of humans.

Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church


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