“It’s optimal that we can express our faith freely,” said Assistant Bishop Benedict of Bistrița on the feast day of the Holy Brâncoveanu Martyrs, the spiritual protectors of the Diocese of Slatina and the Romanians.
“But in other places, Christians are dying every day,” the hierarch continued, mentioning Egypt, Syria, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and other countries.
“Christians are dying every day and in huge numbers. It is said that most martyrs are among Christians in this world. Therefore, it is a daily reality, not just at the beginning of the 18th century when Prince Saint Constantine Brâncoveanu and his family gave their lives in the hands of God.”
The assistant bishop to the Archdiocese of Cluj emphasised that we must take advantage of the fact that we are free to manifest our faith.
“We are free to manifest our faith, and we find other things to choose against what it means ‹those that will not be taken from us›. If we still think in financial and economic terms, why not make serious investments that do not end with death?”
Assistant Bishop Benedict of Bistrița was the guest of Bishop Sebastian of Slatina and the Romanati for the patronal feast of Brâncoveni Monastery on August 16, 2023.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Bishop of Slatina awarded MP Emil-Florin Albotă the “Cross of Olt” Order – the highest distinction of the Diocese, as a sign of appreciation for the support given to the works carried out at the Diocesan Cathedral.
According to the Open Doors report, 2022 was the worst year for Christians facing persecution. One in seven Christians faces severe persecution and discrimination based on their faith worldwide.
In total, 360 million Christians suffered persecution last year for their faith.
On August 16, Romania marks the National Day of Remembrance of the Brâncoveanu Martyrs and of Awareness of Violence against Christians.
Photography courtesy of Ionuț Chifa / Metropolis of Cluj