Message of Patriarch Daniel, Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church, addressed to the participants in the 25th edition of the events dedicated to Holy Apostle Paul, Veria, 25-29 June 2019.
Christ’s merciful and sacrificial love for human beings – source of the missionary service of the Church
With great joy, we received this year, 2019, once again, through the goodwill of His Eminence Metropolitan Panteleimon, the invitation to attend the works of the 25th edition of the Pavleia International Congress dedicated to Holy Apostle Paul, the founder of the Metropolitanate of Veria.
The theme chosen for this year, “Diakonia (service) of the Church according to Holy Apostle Paul,” is important and topical because it underlines the mission of the Church of Christ in serving God and the human beings, in the present context of an increasingly secularised and individualistic humankind.
Holy Apostle Paul, as a humble and courageous confessor of Christ, has put into practice, according to the requirements of the newly established Christian communities in the midst of the pagan world of the Roman Empire, the Gospel of the love of Christ for the salvation of all human beings.
From all of his missionary work, faithfully reflected in his epistles, we notice that the Apostle of the Gentiles constantly emphasises the necessity that all the spiritual and social activities of the Church show Christ’s merciful and sacrificial love for human beings.
In order to fulfil the permanent serving mission of the Church, the doctrinal and pastoral guidance given by Holy Apostle Paul to the communities founded by him or to some other people is still very relevant today.
For example, he asks Philemon, his friend in Colossae, to free the slave Onesimus and treat him as a beloved brother, as himself (Philemon 1:16-17).
He gives advice to the Christians in the Old Corinth on the reciprocity of rights and duties between husband and wife, asking them to put an end to all kinds of divisions and commanding each one of them to take care, especially of the needs of one’s neighbour (1 Corinthians 1:11-28; 7:3-6, 2 Corinthians 8:1).
Therefore, in a context of increasing secularisation and even hostility towards religion, we must today fulfil our vocation to be servants of the Gospel of the love of Christ, defenders of the life and dignity of the human person.
The many difficulties of this service urge us to come closer to Christ, the Head of the Church, to the Most Holy Trinity and to God’s saints through prayer, repentance and acts of merciful love, as the Holy Apostle Paul gave as a witness throughout his life and missionary activity.
We appreciate the theme of this International Congress and pray to our Saviour Jesus Christ that, through the intercessions of Holy Apostle Paul, He may bless all the participants in the works of this meeting.