On 16-18 May 2014, the Committee of Representatives of Orthodox Churches to the European Union (CROCEU) met in Bucharest, at the gracious invitation of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania. The topic of their discussions was «The family in the context of the current crisis». Among those invited to join the CROCEU members in this meeting were representatives of the Romanian Government and of the European institutions, as well as a number of experts and executives of the Romanian Patriarchate.
The opening speech was delivered by HB Patriarch Daniel, who first mentioned «the care, responsibility, appreciation and especially the support that the Church gives to the family facing an economic, moral and spiritual crisis». He concluded by underscoring that «the family is a sacred reality, the fulfilment of the human being in a state of communion of generous love, having the holy vocation to be the living cooperation of human beings with God, the Creator of natural terrestrial life, in order to attain eternal, heavenly life, in the everlasting love of God».
The interventions reflected the spirit of Eastertide, when Christians are called to live in the light of hope and love lit by Christ risen from the dead. Away from any sense of populism, both the projects and the promising activities in progress mentioned by all sides in favor of family members - especially children - justify the expectations that a lot more can and will be done to the avail of our fellow men and women.
It was emphasized that the pastoral care that the Churches provide in the current difficult context should mainly be oriented in two directions. On the one hand, it should aim at cultivating hope amongst people, encouraging them to reconsider their way of life and grow deeper in their relation with God. On the other hand, the Church should do its best in materially helping those most in need in securing a decent life for them and their families.
Time and again was mentioned the cross that so many today have to carry due to poverty, unemployment, uncertainty of the future, social exclusion, emigration etc. It was pinpointed that a well-studied mechanism is needed to implement specific policies efficiently. At the same time, we need morally sincere and honest servants in the cause of being in solidarity with one another, with the family, with society. All the participants agreed that collaboration of as many factors as possible need to be strengthened in order to stand by the weak members of society who undergo their tribulations and deprivation in helpless silence, and not listen only to those voices complaining because they have lost some of what they possess.
In the second part of the meeting, the CROCEU members made an evaluation of their past work and drawn the lines of their future activities, setting the priorities for the coming period. The guests also had the opportunity to get to know the pastoral and missionary work of the Romanian Patriarchate and the challenges that it currently faces, by way of making a series of visits to important sites throughout the Archdiocese of Bucharest.
The program culminated on Sunday, 18 May 2014, with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest.
Bucharest, 18 May 2014