As many as 2,500 young people aged between 16 and 35 years from all the eparchies of the Romanian Patriarchate as well as officials of other sister churches are expected to attend a World Convention of Christian Orthodox Youth to be hosted by Bucharest City Thursday through Sunday, Spokesman for the Romanian Patriarchate Vasile Banescu (photo) reported on Tuesday.
“The Romanian Patriarchate wants to meet the young people’s demands. That is nothing unusual. On the contrary, it is to be highly expected. (…) So, there are two central questions. We want to find out what today’s young people are expecting from Church, while on the other hand we try to find out what Church is expecting from the youth. It is a natural partnership, a dialogue this convention wants to deepen,” Banescu told a news conference at Patriarchal Palace.
The theme of the convention is “Jesus Christ, the joy of life,” to focus on the role and importance of young people in the Church.
“Discussed will be advancing family values and the idea of volunteerism, given that there are nearly 800 social organisations operating within the Romanian Patriarchate that have philanthropic programmes. In 2015 alone, 123 million lei were spent on social and philanthropic actions,’ said Banescu.
Most of the participants are from Romania, but nearly 400 of them are from local Romanian communities from Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Sweden and Finland. There will be 11 young people coming from Moldova, 50 from norther Bucovina and 20 from southern Basarabia.
Taking part in the convention on behalf of the Christian Orthodox sister churches will be church leaders from Greece, Egypt, the Patriarchates of Jerusalem and Antioquia as well as other autocephalous patriarchates from Poland, Georgia, Serbia, Hungary and Cyprus. Young people from the US and Australia are also expected to attend.
According to the spokesman for the convention, Alexandru Bordea, the Moscow Patriarchate has not selected its participants for the event, although is has confirmed its presence. “We have kept sending invitations. Probably for reasons unbeknownst to us, they refuse to attend. We are still waiting for them. There are still some days left. Maybe we will have the joy of seeing then in Bucharest,”said Bordea, according to Agerpres.
Early on September 2 and 3, the attendees are invited to take part in two workshops discussing the importance and activities of the youth in the church that will be hosted by schools in Bucharest City.
On September 3 in the evening, the Palace Hall will host a conference called “Jesus Christ, the joy of life,” followed by a procession of lights from the Palace Hall to the Patriarchal Cathedral via Victoriei Road and Splaiul Independentei.
On September 4, the last day of the convention, the young people will take part in a church service to be provided by Patriarch Daniel and hierarchs, priests and deacons before the Nation’s Salvation Cathedral. At the end of the service, Daniel will address the attendees and the baton of the event will be passed to the Iasi Archbishopric for the next convention of Christian Orthodox young people.
Also featuring on the schedule is a pop music concert at IOR Park.
The convention is organised by the Bucharest Archbishopric and the Romanian Patriarchate, with blessings from the Holy Synod, in partnership with the State Secretariat for Church Affairs, the Bucharest General Mayoralty, the mayor’s offices of Bucharest City’s districts 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6, the Polytechnic University of Bucharest, the Bucharest City General School Inspectorate and the Basilica Press Centre of the Romanian Patriarchate.
The Bucharest convention will be followed by a theological congress focusing on religion as a shaping influence in the lives of young people.