Filling the ocean one drop at a time: Children from an after-school painting group in Hârtop, Suceava county, took an important decision on International Children’s Day. They decided to sell their paintings to the highest bidders and donate the gains to Romania’s National Cathedral.
“We know this is just a drop in the ocean, but we also know that we become founders for eternity,” explained Dimitra Vasiliu, aged 19. In other words, it is the drop that counts, by remaining in history.
The Hârtop Children’s Painting Group is coordinated by teacher Denisa Vasiliu from the local after-school.
“We have held charitable online auctions before and donated for local organizations, for the new oncological children’s hospital built by Dăruiește Viață in Bucharest, for a modular hospital in the city of Piatra Neamț, and for Bucharest’s ‘Holy Empress Helen’ center for women in pregnancy crisis,” the art teacher explains.
“This time, on June 1, we decided to donate for the making of the mosaic painting of the icon of the Lord’s Resurrection at the Romanian People’s Salvation Cathedral. The children and I felt it necessary to envisage such a project, too, especially since it is connected to our passion: painting,” she adds.
“Donating for the Cathedral is thanksgiving for the gift we received – the gift of painting,” says Natalia, a third-grader member of the Hârtop Children’s Painting Group.
“Like all children, we are not very well-organized and do not know how to help others. But our teacher shows us how to help by bringing different causes to attention. I think she’s trying to indicate a path for us to follow in life, then it is up to us to walk that path,” adds Constantin, an 11-grade student.
“There are so many people in need of help compared to those – far lesser – willing to help them. So the latter ones need to prioritize whom to support. But what never changes is that all people in need appeal to God for support when they have a problem. It is important to give back to the place where we find comfort and peace from God,” explains Iustina Grigoraș, an eighth-grader.
“Sometimes, by giving hope and faith, an icon painted in a blessed cathedral helps so many people just by being there day in, day out, year after year. People come in front of it praying for their needs. I think donating to churches once in a while and painting icons is a sign of humble gratitude towards God,” adds the teenager.
“We feel like this Cathedral project belongs to all of us and we are happy to be part of its making. Each of the 83 paintings auctioned represents a part of the young painter’s soul and we donate not just money, but also our talent and love put to work for a beautiful ideal,” declares Iliuța Nichita, a university freshman and member of the Hârtop Children’s Painting Group.
The auction was held on Facebook: each photo of the young painter holding his/her work contained a description and a starting price. “We expect and offer commitment. Thank you for joining us!” transmitted the members of the painting group.
Romania’s National Cathedral, also named People’s Salvation Cathedral, is a tribute to the national heroes and an old project which did not get to be realized before the Communist regime settled in Romania.
It was built as a sign of gratitude for the liberation (salvation) of the Romanian nation from foreign domination and for the acquisition of state independence. The names of all known heroes in Romanian modern history are buried in the Holy Table of the Cathedral altar.
The National Cathedral was consecrated on November 25, 2018, in the Centennial Year of the Unification of Romania, by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church.