09 August 2007, 17:34
Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church sends a message to Locum Tenens of the Romanian patriarchal throne Metropolitan Daniel and Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church
The Most Reverend Daniel
Archbishop of Iasi
Metropolitan of Moldova and Bukovina
The Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church
Fellow-Archpastors beloved in Christ!
The feelings of grief and great loss have befallen the Romanian Patriarchate and, together with it, the whole Orthodox world. The Russian Orthodox Church also grieves as we are parting with our dear Brother and Friend.
His Beatitude Patriarch Teoctist, an ardent worker in the field of Christ, proclaimed the word of God’s truth in the holy Romanian Church for twenty one years and confidently guided his large Orthodox flock to salvation.
His Beatitude’s service for the Church of God began at the hard times of persecution by the authorities who were guided by the ideology of atheism. At that time of temptation and oppression, the future Patriarch proved himself as a person faithful to God, committed to the Church and a true bearer of witness to Jesus Christ. After His Beatitude Patriarch Justin passed away in the Lord, His Beatitude Teoctist was called to bear the burden of primatial service and did not hesitate to place on his shoulders the responsibility for the fate of Orthodoxy in his homeland.
It was difficult to imagine at that time that Romania would soon see so rapid a political and social change and His Beatitude would go through new hard trials. When the political storm broke into the church life, His Beatitude the Patriarch resolutely preferred to be exposed to personal disgrace to doing damage to the cause of God. Like the Prophet Jonah he was ready to sacrifice himself so that the raging sea of political passions could grow calm (Jonah 1:15) and no longer threaten to overflow the ark of the Church. However, the God-loving Romanian people and the whole Orthodox world saw in His Beatitude Teoctist the best example of the Gospel’s good shepard with a loving heart, who lays down his life for the sheep (Jn. 10:11) and who is committed to the cause of God at any time. The Romanian Church came to see in the life of His Beatitude the clear evidence that it was he who should continue to steer the boat of the Church.
His Beatitude Teoctist was a truly people’s patriarch, to whom the orphaned flock always responded with love and profound respect. Thanks to this love and respect, His Beatitude Teoctist managed to do so much for the spiritual revival of his country at his patriarchal office.
At the same time, the Patriarch of the blessed memory was concerned not only for his beloved Romania but also for the fate of Orthodoxy in the world and for the fraternal co-existence of the nations. The globalization, which is sometimes accompanied with manifestations of hatred and enmity, has shown ever more clearly that it is only through dialogue and sincere wish to understand one another that harmony can be achieved. Patriarch Teoctist was well aware of that and exerted great efforts to promote inter-confessional and interreligious peace and dialogue between civilizations and cultures. In doing so, he worked hard representing his Church at high international level and invariably advocating and defending the values of Orthodox faith. His Beatitude Teoctist was always a brilliant and prominent figure at meetings of the Conference of European Churches and other inter-church and interreligious forums, where we met many times. Our last brotherly meeting took place in Moscow a year ago when His Beatitude took an active part in the World Summit of Religious Leaders.
The Russian and Romanian Church had a similar fate in the 20th century, as they went through the times of Golgotha-like trials and reached resurrection. The late Patriarch spoke about it in Moscow when in 2000 we, together with primates and representatives of other Local Churches, consecrated the reconstructed Church of Christ the Saviour. We shared sorrows and joys and drew strength from our unity. Whenever external, non-church, forces tried to darken our fraternal accord, we knew: such thoughts never found room in the heart of our dear Brother and Friend.
Attending His Beatitude Teoctist today on the way of all the earth, we do not doubt that so committed and zealous a servant of God will find an abundant reward in the Kingdom of God. May the Lord repose his soul in the mansions of the righteous, and we mentally give to our beloved Brother and concelebrant our last embrace.
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
August 3, 2007