This Sunday was the first Sunday Liturgy celebrated in churches across Romania with the participation of the faithful. Priests and parishioners found themselves with emotion and joy after the end of the national state of emergency. Many parishes prepared their courtyards with specific marks to help keep the social distancing requirements, drawing colourful flowers on the pavement.
At the beginning of the state of emergency, Patriarch Daniel asked the faithful to respect the sanitary rules and to wait patiently for a while before returning to ecclesial communion, as requested by authorities.
Meanwhile, the Patriarch called for other forms of communion: communion through prayer and good works. He also mentioned spiritual almsgiving, performed by “forgiving one’s neighbour and reconciling oneself to all whom we have upset.”
Thus, for a short time, as the Patriarch of Romania said, the houses of the faithful became “family chapels” which, through prayer, kept in touch with their parish churches. However, it was not easy for the faithful or their shepherds, deprived of the joy of full communion.
At the expiration of the state of emergency, church servants gladly prepared to greet their congregations, some drawing inspiration from churches in Georgia, where believers maintained a distance standing in flower-drawn marks depicted on the pavement of the church courtyards.
Churchyards have become a true celebration of colour, as evidenced by many photos published last week. Among them, the Orthodox Cathedral of Baia Mare, which waited for its faithful with flowers drawn in the colours of the tricolour.
Believers expressed the same emotion and joy on social networks. “Community, communion, faith and Christ. In our midst and in us. Welcome back home, to the Church!” wrote Oana Moșoiu, a lecturer at Bucharest University, in a post on Facebook on Sunday.
Mona Șerbănescu, director of the Orthodox Pedagogical High School “Anastasia Popescu” in Bucharest, commented referring to God, the Source of Life: “I say that I left only physically. It was like a deeper breath today! We had the Spring close to us.”
“As long as our lives unfold in the light of Christ, there will be no shortage of opportunities for joy. Last Sunday was such an occasion,” said Dr Nicolae Dobre, telecommunications specialist, in a message sent to the Basilica News Agency.
“We had the joy of chanting together ‘Christ is risen!’ – the most beautiful hymn of Christianity. I felt the joy of the overwhelming presence of the Saviour again, fulfilling His promise still: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20),” he added.
The engineer, a parishioner of the Brâncuși Parish in Bucharest, noted that the most recent Divine Liturgy gave him hope and the confidence that God cares for us and that the vicissitudes of the times will not overcome his Church. Here is what the Sunday Divine Liturgy at his parish looked like: