The youth seeking freedom

ITO Iași 2017 addresses the invitation to each young person to remain faithful to himself because in the depths of each one of us lies hidden the search for true freedom, beauty, goodness, love, and the search for God, the One who is the true Spring of liberty, of beauty, of goodness and of pure love.

ITO Iași 2017 is a blessing from God and a great opportunity for all of us. We say welcome to all the participants, hoping that these days will strengthen the friendships of Orthodox Christian youths, friendships without borders.

We hope that these friendships defeat death and will last for eternity. This kind of meeting aims to bring young people closer to each other and to the Church, to know themselves better, and also to get closer to the priests from their parishes.

All young people have the calling to holiness. Seeing you in the light of hope, as a potential asset who awaits development and inclusion in work, the Church plans to support all of you in discovering the fullness of your own calling.

We often give in to the temptation to underestimate and to minimise the importance of your potential. God” does not throw” an entire generation randomly in to time without giving them a purpose. God has a plan with this young generation too, your generation. We trust in you! We all know that youth is the time when a person makes their first important choices. The decisions made at this age will shape your entire life. This time of your youth has both its trials, and its risks. This time can be a time of increasing passions or, conversely reducing them. The youth that are truly free, meaning those without passions, are the adornment of the Church.

ITO Iași 2017 addresses the invitation to each young person to remain faithful to himself because in the depths of each one of us lies hidden the search for true freedom, beauty, goodness, love, and the search for God, the One who is the true Spring of liberty, of beauty, of goodness and of pure love.

”You don’t prove freedom, you live it.” It is good for the youth to receive support and to be accompanied in their search. We believe that staying in a permanent dialog with the youths of today brings salvation. This meeting in Iași is a good opportunity to draw closer to our values, to understand ourselves better, and to understand the meaning of our lives.

There is a world crisis today in not transmitting the cultural and spiritual values of the Church to today’s youth. We know that it is difficult for the youth not involved in the life of the Church to know and to get closer to it. Events like these are an opportunity given to the new generation to get acquainted with the spiritual universe of the Church, in other words, with the Life of the Church. Our faith is the true life, and not “opium for elders“, as some may wrongly believe. ”Christianity is the world’s eternal youth“ said Jean Daniélou.

Who can give authentic answers to the fundamental questions of life?

Who can offer a sense to each man’s life? Only the Good Lord can do this. We have proposed the subject of freedom for meditation at ITO 2017. We all want to be free. But freedom is not gained easily or quickly. Freedom is acquired through effort and gradually. This is an exercise and a life-long project.

We need to understand correctly what freedom means in order to truly live freely.

Do we know what we are searching for? Do we have the courage to seriously raise the problem of freedom? Do we know what this freedom means? What are the advantages and disadvantages of freedom? Is it worth the effort?

For many young people freedom is a beautiful word that makes you dream. For those who aren’t young anymore, I dare to say, freedom is rather nostalgic or an ideal, but not a reality. How can we get closer to freedom?

I often hear youth saying: I am free to do what I want. Looking around I notice though that many of those who think that, don’t achieve much in life. On the contrary, this kind of thinking ruins physical and mental health, and causes social and spiritual failure. I am allowed to do anything—but not everything is helpful; I am allowed to do everything, but those things should not possess me (not make me a slave)’, as St. Paul the Apostle told us.

We believe that these words make for a good beginning and help us find answers to our questions regarding freedom.

It is good to know from the beginning that we cannot be truly free in isolation. Freedom is never solitary, but social. Freedom is expressed in encounters with others. To be free means to be able to do the good and not evil. You are free when you love without claiming to be loved; to be free means to be merciful with the one in need; you are free when you do not lie, because the free man is not afraid to tell the truth; you are free when you can say thank you; you are free when you forgive the one that wronged you and actually love your enemy; you are free when you know the faith and the history of your nation that you belong to and you talk about it to your children. And you should also know. One of the signs of freedom is joy, pure joy. A free soul rejoices and gives freedom to the Holy Spirit to work in his heart. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is joy.

If we stay near God, if we try to make Him our friend, we will know freedom and we will rejoice. Our Savior tells us:”If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

As we know from St. Paul the Apostle, freedom is possible where Christ is present, the Truth is where the Holy Spirit is. ”...Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”.

We wish for you to spend beautiful days in our city Iași, and please do not forget us.

Come visit us again any time you miss Saint Paraskeva, Copou Hill, Ion Creanga, or us, those who want to be your friends from Iași.

(Arhimandrit Nicodim Petre)

Read other articles about: ITO 2017, Freedom, Arhimandrit Nicodim Petre
„A pure heart and a watchful mind are the most beautiful adornment of youth.”
- Metropolitan Nicolae Bălan -