On Thursday, Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania, awarded Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church the National Order of the Star of Romania with the rank of Collar.
The highest and oldest national distinction was awarded on the patriarch’s 70th birthday, as a sign of high esteem for his precious contribution to the common good through the pastoral, missionary, cultural, social and philanthropic activity of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Romania and abroad, and for fostering interconfessional and inter-religious dialogue.
The president emphasized in his speech Patriarch Daniel’s important contribution to making the Romanian Orthodox Church an important dialogue partner of the Romanian state with a view to consolidating a democratic society.
He spoke of the fundamental role the patriarch assumed “in developing interconfessional and inter-religious dialogue both nationally and internationally”.
“I wish to congratulate you for the model of balance and wisdom you offer in the very sensitive area of the relationship with other religions and confessions, as well as in relation with state authorities. May the Romanian Orthodox Church continue to protect and promote this relational model!”
The chief of state also noticed the Patriarch’s deep involvement in “continuing the legacy of the most prominent representatives of Romanian spirituality.”
“You have successfully answered to one of the most complex challenges today: maintaining the spiritual identity and cohesion of the Romanian Diaspora.”
“The Romanian Orthodox Church developed modern media channels who convey the pastoral, missionary and humanitarian message of faith to the remotest Romanian communities in the world,” added the President of Romania.
Patriarch of Romania: The order honours the whole Church
The Patriarch thanked the President of Romania and stated that he received the distinction “as a token of appreciation not just for our activity as a Patriarch, but as a sign of honour for the whole Romanian Orthodox Church, especially in the year dedicated by the Holy Synod to the pastoral care of the Romanians outside the country.”
“We have the biggest Romanian diaspora in the history of our people, which is both an opportunity and a challenge. That is why we have made efforts, together with state authorities, to keep in Romanian communion these sons and daughters of our homeland who, for various reasons, work or study abroad.”
“We thank you for the appraisals made on our Church and, indeed, as the Law provides, religious communities in Romania are social partners of the Romanian state,” added the patriarch.
“We consider freedom to manifest our faith as the freedom to cooperate, the freedom to assume responsibility and, as you so beautifully said, as freedom towards peace and harmony with all the citizens of Romania and with the Romanians from all over the world.”
“We thank you and we also wish you a long and healthy life, with help from God in your activity,” concluded the Patriarch.
Patriarch Daniel is the third Romanian citizen awarded the National Order of the Star of Romania with the rank of Collar. The other two are former Patriarch Teoctist and Mugur Isărescu, Governor of the National Bank of Romania.