Message Of The Patriarch Of Romania To The Conference Organised By The World Council Of Churches And By The Romanian Patriarchat

On the occasion of the conference with the theme: "Global Platform for Theological Reflection 2010. Unity and Mission Today: Witness and Opinions of the Marginalized" organised at the Patriarchal Palace by the World Council of Churches and by the Romanian Patriarchate, His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church addressed the participants the following message:

Dear Organizers and Participants,

First of all we wish to address you a warm welcome to the Centre of Conference - Patriarchal Palace, where you participate in the proceedings of the Conference organised by the World Council of Church together with the Romanian Patriarchate.

The theme proposed for debate "The Global Platform For Theological Reflection 2010. Unity And Mission Today: Witness And Opinion Of The Marginalized" is a very topical one, because it examines new possibilities of intensification of the mission of the Christian Churches in today's society where their dignity is not respected, and their voice is not heard or understood.

The Christian faith always proclaims the truth that any human being is created according to the image of God and has a unique eternal value. Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God who was made man for the humans' salvation, calls to eternal life all people, irrespective of their race, ethnic origin, gender or social position. The Church has condemned, ever since the first Christian centuries, the Gnostic sects that preached there was an ontological difference among people, dividing them into human beings of high essence, designed to reach true knowledge and salvation and the human beings of lower essence, sentenced to ignorance and punishment.

So, true Christianity has always proclaimed equality of all people in front of the Creator and preached the love of Christ for all people, irrespective of race, ethic origin, gender or social position. Starting from the ontological unity and axiological equality of all people, the Christian theologians have often declared themselves against the various forms of discrimination and social injustice. The works of the Holy Fathers of the Church provide many examples of the Church's direct help granted to the poor and marginalized, not matter if they had received the Christian baptism or not.

In the modern epoch, the Churches all over the world have often united their voices against the political discriminatory regimes. A well-known example is the attitude of the Churches members of the World Council of Churches against the apartheid regime. The World Council of Churches is also known and respected for its consistent activity defending human rights and human dignity, emphasising the Biblical roots of these rights. So, all Churches have the missionary vocation to proclaim the Gospel of love of Christ for all humankind, namely for all ethnic groups and human persons.

A major preoccupation of the Romanian Orthodox Church is the pastoral social charitable assistance granted to the four million Romanian Orthodox faithful who immigrated to various parts of the world during the last few years. The Romanian Orthodox Church takes care of her faithful who decided to work temporary or to settle forever in other countries. So, hundreds of parishes and a few new eparchies have been set up in various parts of the world.

In Romania, our Church started to develop programmes of social and ecclesiastic integration of the Rroms. Such a programme successfully unfolded within the Romanian Patriarchate is called "Choose school", in which children, many of them Rroms, are helped to continue their studies and not to abandon school. Certainly, long-term programmes are needed, both social and mostly educational. In this sense, Christian co-operation at national and international level is needed. The present conference is included in this perspective.

We pray God to bless all the organisers and participants in the proceedings of this conference dedicated to the mission of the Churches to defend the dignity of the marginalized persons. We wish you all the joy to contribute to the solidarity of the Church with the marginalized ones in the contemporary society. We also wish you a pleasant stay in Romania!

† Daniel
Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church