His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel addressed the thousands of Orthodox young people gathered Friday at the opening ceremony of the 2017 International Orthodox Youth Meeting (ITO) in Iasi. In his speech, the patriarch recalled that “the Church most joyfully welcomes all young people in search for true freedom”.
The ceremony began with the presentation of the participating delegations from all over the world in the presence of the patriarch and several other Romanian Orthodox bishops. Following this presentation, the Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Suceava and Rădăuți, Damaschin of Dorna, officiated a Doxology (Te Deum service).
His Eminence Metropolitan Teofan welcomed the guests and pointed to the fact that even in our days young people can behave as good Christians.
“This event is another occasion to prove that despite many difficulties, through God’s grace, you can be a Christian and young and free at the same time”, Met. Teofan said.
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel took the floor and addressed the thousands of Orthodox young people stressing the fact that the Church welcomes all youth in search for true freedom.
The Church most joyfully welcomes all young people in search for true freedom and communicates to them through the Holy Mysteries and the Liturgical Feast the paternal love of the Heavenly Father, who rejoices in the devoted spiritual sons and daughters, but also in the repenting “prodigal son”.
He went on to note that “the Church communicates to young people the healing and liberating love of our Saviour Jesus Christ, the Physician of our souls and bodies, as well as the sanctifying love of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Treasury of good things and Giver of life.”
After the official ITO2017 hymn was sung, the Romanian state secretary for religious affairs, Victor Opaschi, stressed the role religious education has to help young people know and understand their traditions and their national history.
I consider that religious education, but also the general education should be a form of instruction in and for freedom. This would offer youth the necessary instruments to know and understand their own roots, Opaschi said Sept. 1.
The ceremony ended with a concert held by the Floralia ensemble from Iasi and the Nectarios choir of St Nectarios Church.
This year’s Meeting is the forth international meeting of Orthodox youth organized by the Romanian Orthodox Church and it gathers over 6000 young people coming from all over the world. Last year, the meeting took place in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, with the young people participating in the first Divine Liturgy celebrated by Patriarch Daniel at the National Cathedral.
The Romanian People’s Salvation Cathedral will be consecrated next year on the feast of St Andrew, on Nov. 30, and delegations of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches are expected to be present at the event.