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Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia: Romanians devotion bears testimony to the flourishing of Romanian Orthodoxy today


Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia blessed on Friday the crowd of faithful who had gathered on the Bucharest Patriarchy Hill to celebrate the Feast of Bucharest patron saint Dimitrie Basarabov the New, telling them that their devotion bears testimony to the flourishing of Romanian Orthodoxy today.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church urged people to live by the Holy Spirit and steer clear of false political and religious teachers who promise an earthly Heaven, yet without Christ and without God. 

I am glad to see today the believers gathered here in such high numbers. Your devotion bears testimony to the flourishing of today's Romanian Orthodoxy. We gathered here at the invitation of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in congregation and pray together with bishops, clergy and spiritual sons and daughters of the Holy Church of Romania on this day that bears such a high significance for Bucharest, the commemoration day of Saint Pious Dimitrie Basarabov. On behalf of the Russian Church I brought the Romanian Church a gift, a part of the holy relics of Saint Pious Seraphim of Sarov the wonderworker, to stay in the memory of our undivided spiritual unity and the common spiritual heritage, Patriarch Kirill told the attendance at the Liturgy for the Feast of Saint Pious Dimitrie Basarabov the New, which was celebrated together with Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durres and All Albania, and Archbishop Rastislav of Presov, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, and other foreign and Romanian church leaders, priests and deacons participating in the service dedicated to the Bucharest patron saint, high foreign clergy, delegates of the sister Churches.

After the conclusion of the official address, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church made an emotional "May you live long!" wishing to those present on the Hillock of Joy, as the Patriarchy Hill is also called. 

In his turn, Patriarch Daniel thanked his Russian peer for "the highly spiritual and, at the same time, heartwarming and brotherly sermon."

This is the first visit of a head of the Russian Church after the fall of Communism. The previous one was made by Patriarch Alexy I, who visited Romania in 1962. Patriarch Kirill’s visit coincides with the ten-year anniversary of Patriarch Daniel taking over as head of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Patriarch Kirill is considered by some the second most powerful man in Russia after president Vladimir Putin. He is also a controversial figure due to his connections with the Soviet secret police KGB. His visit to Romania was organized by the Orthodox Church and the local political leaders have only been informed of it.

The relations between Romania and Russia have cooled since the country became an EU and NATO member. Romania is hosting in Deveselu the antimissile defense system Aegis Ashore, part of the US anti-missile shield and integrated into NATO’s anti-ballistic defense system. It was inaugurated in May 2016, despite Russia’s opposition.

However, the two countries have strong religious ties and mostly an Orthodox population. Some 86% of Romania’s population is Orthodox, according to the 2011 census.

The Russian patriarch arrived in Bucharest on October 26 and brought with him the relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov. They were laid at the Russian Church in the capital. He also took part in the ceremonies marking the baptism of Daniel as patriarch.

In a short message at his arrival, patriarch Kirill spoke of the shared values of Orthodoxy.

“The orthodox values are the same for Romanians, for Romania, for the Russians, for Russia and for all the other orthodox believers,” Kirill said.

„There can be good relationships between people only when they share common values. And regardless of the path the history goes, we, the orthodox believers living in different countries, have to remember that we share the same values and a common life system. That means there is an extraordinary potential for peace, cooperation and interaction,” Kirill added.

In his turn, patriarch Daniel thanked him for paying the visit and for coming “to commemorate the defenders of Orthodoxy during Communism.”

Patriarch Kirill’s visit is not regarded as political, so the messages he sent in Bucharest are limited to a type of confessional diplomacy.



Monday, October 30, 2017