Patriarch Daniel of Romania officiated the Agape Vespers at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest on Resurrection Sunday, May 2, 2021.
Based on the biblical text (John 20: 19-25), read at this service in several languages, the Patriarch of Romania noted that the disciples rejoiced when they saw the risen Lord.
“That is why, when we come to church every Sunday and kiss the icon of the Resurrection of the Saviour Jesus Christ, we rejoice when we meet the Risen Christ. This joy was complemented by the fact that Jesus once again said to His disciples, “Peace be with you.”
Gospel reading in several languages
The Patriarch also spoke about the tradition of reading this gospel in several languages.
“It shows us that the gospel of Christ, the good news of His Resurrection, concerns all nations.”
“It applies not only to the chosen Jewish people but to all the peoples of the world because God wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2: 4).
The power of forgiveness of sins
Regarding the words of the Saviour – receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22) – the Holy Fathers say that by breathing upon the disciples, He gave them the power to forgive sins, but not the power to work miracles. He will give this to them at Pentecost, said the Patriarch of Romania.
“It is a divine gift, because only God forgives sins, but behold, Christ who rose from the dead gives this divine power to His disciples, because only through God’s forgiveness of sins can a man be reconciled to God,” Patriarch Daniel added.
Peace be with you!
Also, “when He said Peace be with you,” the Patriarch continued, the Saviour Jesus Christ gave His disciples peace, not the peace of the world, but His holy, divine peace.
“But at the same time, He made them bearers of the grace of forgiveness by which the sinful man reconciles with the holy God through the forgiveness of sins.”
“Therefore, this power is the divine power of forgiveness of sins which bishops and priests receive by ordination when the Holy Spirit is called upon them and sanctifies them, prepares them to be ministers of the gospel of the merciful love of Christ.”
Concelebrants together with Patriarch Daniel included the patriarchal auxiliary bishops Varlaam of Ploiești and Ieronim of Sinaia, as well as the Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Bucharest, Timotei of Prahova.