Message of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel addressed to the participants in the National Congress entitled "Christ Shared to the Children"

Message of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel addressed to the participants in the National Congress entitled “Christ Shared to the Children”, held at Brâncoveanu – Sâmbăta de Sus Monastery, from 2 – 3 September 2009

Education for holy joy

The National Congress “Christ Shared to the Children” organised one year after the implementation of the project at national level, shows the permanent concern of our Church for the educative – missionary work of the new generation. Through the project with the significant title “Christ Shared to the Children”, the Romanian Orthodox Church revives the parochial catechesis for growing the children in the love of Christ, while cooperating for more than three years with the “World Vision Romania” organisation.

This project meets the urgent need to offer the children the Word of God in a form suited to them, able to open their hearts to the true values of life. In the contemporary secularised world, many times, the character and the purpose of the children’s education serve the values of the secularised world (the material gain, power, prestige, temporary pleasures and success). This is why the Church proposes eternal values that exceed the material wealth and the biological death, because they offer the children the eternal love of Christ for children, adults and old people. In this sense, Saint Basil the Great, to whom this homage-commemorative year was dedicated, teaches us that: “the love of God is not based on a discipline imposed to us from outside, but it is a constitutive element of our being, having been placed in us as an aptitude and need of our rational nature”.

The contemporary man, caught in the net of a materialist-consuming society, of the immediate profit, hurries and tries to reduce happiness to the material gain and to the terrestrial biological existence, forgetting about the spiritual richness of the virtues as love for God, truth, justice, holiness, and for eternal life. This is why we show in our message, at the beginning of this project, that the Christian education of the children, besides forming the human characters in the spirit of the Christian faith, is designed to form not only citizens of the earthly homeland, but also citizens of the Kingdom of God, of the communion of eternal divine-human love. So, the catechesis must teach the children how to cultivate deeply human perennial values, not limited to matter, immediate profit and biological terrestrial life.

It is necessary to mention that the work of the Church is essentially different from the propaganda or from the ideological and commercial advertising campaign that the contemporary man has to consume every day through mass-media, in which human life is reduced to biological growth, intellectual performance for material gain and ideology of power in society. But in the Church we learn from the Holy Fathers that the education of the young people and of the children is an “art”, and not an accidental one, but “the most outstanding of arts”. So, Saint John Chysostom says: “There is no higher art than this one… because what equals the harmony of the soul and the formation of the young man’s thought?” (On the vain glory and how the parents must grow their children).

In the Church, human life becomes eucharistic, becomes communion of the man with God, because Christ, our Lord works from inside her, opening the boundaries of reason and of the visible world to the eternal joy and heavenly glory, as the prayers of the Holy Eucharist show us: “It is to You, Lord, that we dedicate all our life and hope and ask and pray and humbly come in front of You. Make us worthy of having pure thought for taking Your heavenly and frightening Mysteries of this holy and spiritual meal”.

In the Holy Eucharist, God, the Incarnated Son, is smashed and shared to the faithful, without dividing Him into constitutive parts, but gives His unique love to the people in different places and times, manifesting in space and time His omnipresence and unifying the universe in Himself (cf. Rev. Dumitru Stăniloae, Spirituality and Communion in the Orthodox Liturgy, 2nd edition, p. 548-549). He is always shared and never ended, having been the eternal pure source of heavenly life, given to the people in the Church.

All these truths lived by the Christians prove that the true culture is intimately related to the cult of the Church, in her capacity of living, witnessing and praying community.

We congratulate all those who had a successful activity in the educational project Christ Shared to the Children and, express, at the same time our confidence that we shall overcome, through prayer and wisdom, the obstacles met in the implementation of the project, such as the fight against the mentalities outdated in idleness, lack of the material means, and especially the lack of the long term missionary orientation concerning the future generations.

We thank the regional coordinator of the project, the national director of World Vision Romania Organisation and all those involved together with us in this missionary work of which long-term spiritual investment is huge, incalculable, just like the value of the soul.

May God bless all those who support or implement this noble work of catechisation and of spiritual formation, so that the children and young people of our Church may reach the joy the psalmist expressed when urging: “Taste and find out for yourself how good the Lord is” (Psalm 34:8).

† Daniel
Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church

Category: News and events
Added: Oct 4, 2009
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