Pope Francis’ visit included a meeting with Patriarch Daniel and the members of the Permanent Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church at the Patriarchal Palace on Friday, May 31; as well as a visit to the national cathedral, where Patriarch Daniel delivered a pascal welcome message, which was followed by the pope’s response.
In the program of the visit to the national cathedral was included the prayer of the Our Father in Latin, followed by Roman Catholic Easter hymns. Then, the Our Father was prayer in Romanian, followed by Orthodox Pascha hymns. The program included no common liturgical prayer, but separate and consecutive musical moments, in accordance with the decision of the Holy Synod and the practice in force in the Romanian diaspora, when the same place of worship is used by both religions.
When exiting the cathedral, Patriarch Daniel and Pope Francis greeted those present with the paschal greeting “Christ is risen! “.
We publish here below Patriarch Daniel’s full message, as addressed to Pope Francis, in the “Conventus” room of the Patriarchal Palace:
We receive you with the paschal greeting “Christ is risen!” in this room of the Patriarchal Palace, where on May 8, 1999, Pope John Paul II was received by Patriarch Teoctist and several members of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church. This room is named symbolically in the Latin Conventus, that is to say Meeting.
Pope John Paul II, at the time of his episcopate in Poland, and Patriarch Teoctist, as a bishop in Romania, had a common spiritual experience, in the sense that they both experienced the difficult years of the communist regime when the Church was marginalized and persecuted.
So their meeting in Bucharest, from May 7 to 9, 1999, was marked by the joy of religious freedom for Christians, a joy amplified by the holy feast of Pascha. Both Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Teoctist were defenders of the Christian faith and felt in their activity the help of Jesus Christ crucified and risen. In this sense, our predecessors call us also today to defend and to promote faith in Christ, and the Christian values, in a very secularized Europe, in order to hand down to the younger generation the faith in the merciful love of Christ for the world, and faith in the eternal life of the human person.
At the same time, they call us to witness, defend, and promote the traditional Christian family of man, woman and children, in a Europe that is experiencing a clear demographic decline, a rapidly aging continent.
The preaching of the Gospel of Christ calls us today to unite liturgy and philanthropy, prayer and social action, by helping the poor, the sick, and the marginalized. At the same time, the Gospel of Christ calls us to promote justice, reconciliation, and solidarity in society, so that the love of Christ for all may be perceived as a blessing, as peace and joy, for people and nations.
We wish you good health and many years: Ad multos annos! †
Daniel, Patriarch of Romania”.