The Patriarch of Romania has sent a message to all students and teachers at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, noting that prayer is a source of peace, joy, and communion.
Patriarch Daniel stressed that today, when, under the influence of secularisation, spiritual values are neglected, and education is subject to paradigm shifts, children and young people “need to discover the profoundly Christian meaning of life, the importance of prayer, the joy of communion with God and with their neighbors.”
Patriarch Daniel also pointed out that students need “to cultivate essential virtues such as respect for the dignity of the person, friendship, sincere love, solidarity, and gratitude.”
“Children and young people also need a thorough education for life, which includes personal experiences, lived within a concrete community, beginning in the family and continuing in school, in the life of the Church and society.”
Prayer: a source of peace, joy, and communion
At the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, with fatherly love, we congratulate and bless all Romanian students, parents, teachers, and professors, carrying them in the prayers of the Church so that the Most Compassionate God may send them all “the spirit of wisdom and understanding, enlightening their minds and reason and opening their hearts to receive the good teachings.”
The Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church has proclaimed 2022 as a Solemn Year of prayer in the Church’s life and the Christian’s life.
Prayer is the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in the believer, which brings comfort, peace and joy; it unites us with the Most Holy Trinity and the Church of Christ at all times and in all places.
In this respect, Saint John Climacus notes that “prayer by reason of its nature is the converse and union of man with God, and by reason of its action upholds the world and brings about reconciliation with God; (…) work of angels, (…) the enlightening of the mind” (The Ladder, 29, 1).
Therefore, it is the foundation of human life and spiritual growth, which helps us to face hardships and to foretaste from this world the light and joy of the resurrection and eternal life.
Prayer is the victory over man’s alienation from God, himself, and his neighbor; it is the source of peace, joy, and communion.
At the same time, common prayer is a sign of the mystical presence of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who said: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20).
Therefore, children and young people, parents, and teachers are called to cherish and cultivate prayer in the ecclesial community, family, school, and society, as it is the source of pure love for God and one’s neighbor.
Without prayer, there is no Church and no Christian life.
When we lose the joy and peace of the soul, it is a sure sign that we no longer pray as we should or as much as we should.
Today, when, under the influence of secularisation, spiritual values are neglected, and education is subject to paradigm shifts, children and young people need to discover the profoundly Christian meaning of life, the importance of prayer, the joy of communion with God and with one’s neighbors, to cultivate essential virtues such as respect for the dignity of the person, friendship, sincere love, solidarity, and gratitude.
Children and young people also need a thorough education for life, which includes personal experiences lived within a concrete community, starting in the family and continuing in school, in the life of the Church and of society.
It is well known that the Romanian school originated on the Church’s porch and continued to develop in close connection with the Church.
Through the presence of religious education in schools and parish catechesis, the Church provides children and young people with essential reference points for their personal and community development.
To cultivate the relationship of communion between man and God and one’s neighbor through prayer, in the context of the Solemn Year of Prayer in the Church’s life and the Christian’s life, the Romanian Patriarchate, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, organized the National Catechetical Contest entitled “Prayer in my life” between November 15, 2021, and May 21, 2022.
Parish catechetical groups of children and young people from the country and the diaspora participated in the competition. The winners were awarded on May 21, 2022, on the historic patronal feast of the Patriarchal Cathedral, the festivity of the Holy Great Emperor Constantine and his mother, Helen.
At the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, we pray to the Most Compassionate God to bless all Romanian students, parents, teachers, and professors, giving them full health, the joy of prayer, and spiritual growth for many happy years!
With high esteem and paternal blessing,
Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church