*Excerpts from the Pastoral Letter of His Holiness Daniel, the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church
(…) “By understanding the need of spiritual preparation to receive the light and the joy of Christ’s Resurrection as a pledge for the Christian’s resurrection from the death of the sin and as a preparation to receive the eternal life, the Orthodox Church has established a seven weeks period (including Holy Week) as a spiritual preparation of the believers for the great feast of our Lord’s Resurrection or of the Holy Easter. This period, which is called The Holy and Great Lent, represents a time of intense prayer and repentance, accompanied by fasting, in order to achieve the forgiveness for our sins through a more often Confession and to feel in a larger extent the merciful love, peace and joy of the Crucified and Resurrected Christ, by receiving the Holy Eucharist more often. It is a period of spiritual ascent, of consecration of the soul and body, by abstinence from sins or selfish passions and by multiplying the good deeds, helping others when they are in need.
While the preparation period for the feast of the Lord’s Resurrection lasts six weeks, the period of Easter joy also lasts six weeks, namely since Easter to Pentecost or Whitsun (also called Whitsunday).
Thus, we can see that Holy Easter feast is the greatest feast of the Church, an overflowing abundance of light and joy, which gives a purpose to the believer in the history, turning the whole universe to the new heaven and to the new earth which the book called the Apocalypse, from the New Testament, speaks about (ch.21).
Holy Easter feast is a foretaste or a pledge of the eternal joy and undying light from the Kingdom of Heaven, in the heavenly Jerusalem. Therefore, all the Easter garments are bright in the church, and the dark of the Easter night is defeated by the plenty of the lights or burning candles. During all this Easter period, until Lord’s Resurrection, the joy of life’s victory against death is expressed by the often repeated song of the Resurrection Troparion and by the frequently used confession of faith: “Christ is risen!”; “Truly, He risen!” This way, we ourselves become disciples and apostles of the Risen Christ.
In our days, the feast of Lord’s Resurrection, or Holy Easter, impel each of us to be heralds of the merciful love of Christ, of peace and joy, in a more and more confuse and sad world, which is often faced with disunity and violence, with poverty and suffering, with disease and many forms of physical and spiritual death. Holy Easter calls us to bring the light of Resurrection in the souls of the orphan children, of the lonely elderly, of the helpless sick people, of the bereaved and saddened families. Let us also remember in our prayer and love the Romanian people finding themselves among strangers, but missing their country, or the ones who remained home. We are gladly waiting them to return and to permanently remain in Romania, because without them many places in Romania are sad and helpless!
Let us pray the Risen Christ to help us keep the true faith and the Christian life in front of many errors and temptations which are increasing today, to love and support the Romanian people’s Church in its pastoral, missionary and social work of guiding and helping poor families with many children, to support education and spiritual training of our children and young people, so that they can feel the love of the family, of the Church and of the school, especially in the context that this year, 2016, was declared by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Church, The Anniversary Year of the Religious Education of the Christian Orthodox Young People.
In particular, we thank to all those who supported until now and those who will support, by their word and deed, moral and financial, the construction of the People’s Salvation Cathedral (which reached 70 percent of the works volume), so that it may be consecrated on 1st of December 2018, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Great Union of Romanians in an independent state. In the same time, this Cathedral has a practical role, being also a symbol of faith, freedom and dignity of the Romanian people.
We wish to all of you Holy Easter to bring you peace and joy in your soul and in your family, light and a lot of help in all your good deeds!
With parentally love, we address to all of you the Easter greeting:
Christ is risen!”