The leader of the Romanian Orthodox Church says the pandemic has challenged people and called them to value their life and health. But despite the difficulties, this time of testing can also lead to deeper faith, he said.
In his Easter message which was released before Orthodox Easter this weekend, Patriarch Daniel says: “The pandemic calls us to cherish our lives and health, as well as the lives and health of our fellow men.”
The patriarch called believers to deeper prayer “and increased love for fellow believers” across the globe..
“There is a great need for prayer and fraternal help, closeness to God, and practical solidarity among people,” he said.
Some 87% of Romanians are Orthodox believers and celebrate Easter, a moveable feast, this weekend.
Daniel touched on the ways the pandemic has impacted people’s lives. Romania has reported 1.05 million cases and 27,511 deaths up until Monday. Thousands of Romanians abroad have also contracted the virus and hundreds have died.
“These times show us how fragile human life is on earth and how much we need to keep in constant touch with God, the source of earthly life and eternal heavenly life,” he said in his Easter Pastoral or message.
However, he also that the current medical crisis could deepen believers’ faith “especially through prayer and by increasing our love for people in suffering.”
He went on to say that the “pandemic calls us to value our lives and health, as well as the lives and health of our fellow human beings, as gifts received from God, which we must protect with great spiritual and health responsibility.
it’s the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. Western Christians, including the Roman Catholic church and Protestant denominations calculate the date of Easter by using the Gregorian calendar while Orthodox Christians continue to use the older Julian calendar to calculate the date of Easter.
The church’s Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church has declared 2021 as a year dedicated to the millions of Romanians living outside the country.
“In this sense, we are called to cultivate more intensely the fraternal communion with the Romanians around the borders of Romania and in the Romanian diaspora, ” he patriarch also said in his message.