In a message for the 15th anniversary of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Northern Europe on Sunday, Patriarch Daniel of Romania praised the Diocese that “since its inauguration, has become a significant link for the unity of the Romanians in the Scandinavian diaspora.”
Please find below the full text of Patriarch Daniel’s message titled “A young missionary diocese, pastored by a dynamic hierarch.”
A young missionary diocese, pastored by a dynamic hierarch
Fifteen years of sacrificial ministry in the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Northern Europe (2008-2023)
The Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Northern Europe celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. A young diocese, having under its canonical care the Romanian Orthodox faithful in the countries located in the north of Europe, with a sizeable canonical territory and multiple missionary needs, has become a significant link for the unity of Romanians in the Scandinavian diaspora since its inauguration.
When Romania was integrated as a member state of the European Union, the dynamics of international migration of Romanians changed fundamentally. Many fellow citizens chose to temporarily or permanently set their residence outside the borders of the Motherland.
In this context, establishing new dioceses in the Romanian diaspora constituted a missionary need and urgency.
Thus, the Romanian Orthodox Church continued to be alongside its spiritual sons and daughters, as it has done since the first Romanians settled in the West. It assured them of dynamic and fruitful pastoral care by sending ministers who were theologically and spiritually well-prepared to the Romanian communities in the diaspora.
Referring to the mission of the Romanian Orthodox Church in the Nordic countries of Europe, it is appropriate to highlight the sacrificial mission of the priests sent by the Romanian Patriarchate to the few Romanians in the large urban agglomerations in Scandinavia since 1971 (despite the unfavourable political climate of those times).
However, taking into account the new realities regarding the migration of Romanians in many European countries, including Northern Europe, in 2008, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church took note of the resolution of the Diocesan Assembly of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Northern Europe and chose as bishop for the newly established eparchy Protosyncellus Macarie Drăgoi, who at that time was serving as ecclesiarch at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Cluj-Napoca.
Father Macarie was ordained a bishop on Bright Friday on the feast of the Life-Giving Spring on May 2, 2008, in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Cluj-Napoca. The enthronement to the episcopal dignity took place on Sunday, July 6, 2008, at St Sava’s Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Stockholm, thus becoming the first bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Northern Europe.
Increasing the number of church units (parishes and monasteries) was one of the primary objectives for the young new bishop’s mission. If at the arrival of His Grace Bishop Macarie at the helm of the Diocese, there were only three well-defined parochial communities in the Swedish cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, today, on the territory of the Kingdoms of Sweden, Norway and Denmark and the Faroe Islands, three monasteries and over 60 parishes and non-parochial churches carry out their mission (the places of worship were built or purchased by their own efforts including the Diocesan Centre in the capital of the Kingdom of Sweden, Stockholm).
The youth ministry constituted a significant milestone in terms of the mission outside the places of worship and was essential for preserving the spiritual and cultural identity of Romanians in the diaspora.
For this purpose, the “St. Stephen the Great” Youth Centre of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Northern Europe was established with subdivisions in each parish. Its purpose was to enlist young Romanians from Scandinavian countries in spirit-bonding initiatives, to help them uncover and deepen their Romanian Orthodox traditions, and, most importantly, to involve them in the parish communities’ life.
In the pastoral-missionary plan, the fifteen years of fruitful activity of His Grace Bishop Macarie were characterised by a permanent presence among the faithful, a direct and intense personal contribution to the proper running of the missionary and pastoral activity in the parishes through spiritual guidance, through public support for families in danger of losing their children, by promoting the family as the only environment for raising children, thereby encouraging Romanian communities in Scandinavia “with time and without time.”
We note, at the same time, the editorial activity of the Diocese, centred on the publication of the bilingual magazine “The Northern Candle”, the official diocesan publication, but also the several dozen volumes published in various languages of international circulation by the Felicitas Publishing House of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Northern Europe.
Now, on this anniversary, we pray to our Lord Jesus Christ to bless the sacrificial missionary work of His Grace Bishop Macarie, the clergy and the faithful of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Northern Europe, urging them to keep and continue to cultivate communion with the Mother Church, to preserve the unity and identity of faith and nation.
With great appreciation and paternal blessings,
Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church
Photography courtesy of the Basilica.ro Files