Easter Pastoral Letter of Metropolitan Archbishop Ioan Robu and the celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord at the Sf. Iosif Cathedral

Believers of the Roman-Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest prepare themselves to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ after having commemorated on Palm Sunday the solemn entry of Jesus in Jerusalem.

The Feast of Easter is preceded, during the Holy Week, by the commemoration of the Lord’s Passion and Death. Thus, two special celebrations took place on Thursday, Marc 29, this year, at the Sf. Iosif Cathedral: the Liturgy of Chrism or of the Holy Oil, and the Liturgy of the Last Supper.

The Liturgy of Chrism was attended by all the diocese priests and monks of the Archdiocese (from the counties of Tulcea, Constanta, Braila, Ialomita, Calarasi, Buzau, Prahova, Brasov, Ilfov, Giurgiu, Dambovita, Arges, Teleorman, Valcea, Olt, Gorj, Dolj, Mehedinti and from Bucharest), who renewed their promises made at the time of receiving the sacrament of the Holy Priesthood. At the same Holy Liturgy, the celebrant priest blessed the Holy Oil, which the priests of the Archdiocese will use for one year in administering the sacrament of the Baptism, Chrism (Confirmation) and Anointing of the Sick. At the Liturgy of the Last Supper the foot washing ritual of 12 men from the Cathedral’s parish took place in the memory of the gesture of total self-giving which Jesus made to the apostles.

On the Holy Friday, on March 30 this year, the Roman-Catholic believers are fasting (they eat once a day in plenty) and having abstinence (they don’t eat meat). On this day, the Holy Liturgy is not celebrated, but at 18.30, the commemoration of the Christ’s Passion and Death and the worship of the Holy Cross will take place at the Sf. Iosif Cathedral. On the Holy Saturday, the Catholic Church oversees in prayer, an no liturgical action is being celebrated throughout the day.

On the Saturday to Sunday night, on March 31 to April 1, 2018, the Pascal Vigilia is solemnly celebrated, representing the transition from death and sin to the new life in the resurrected Jesus Christ. At the Sfantul Iosif Cathedral in Bucharest, the celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection will be presided on Saturday, March 31, at 23:00, by IPS Ioan Robu, Metropolitan Archbishop. The ritual will start in front of the cathedral, by blessing the fire and lighting the Easter candle, the symbol of the light of the Resurrected Christ. For almost one hour, the readings from the Old and New Testament will remind believers about the promise of God, the Creator and Savior, to be with the man forever, a promise that culminates in the Annunciation of the Resurrection. Shortly before midnight, the bells will sound again after a three-day silence. Also at that time, after 40 days of fasting, the song “Hallelujah” will be sang.

The Easter candle, immersed in the water of baptism, reminds that by the Baptism each Christian dies and resurrects with Christ. Made of white wax, the candle has the sign of the cross imprinted on it. Right at the beginning of the celebration, the Greek letter Alpha is written above this cross, while Omega is written underneath; these are the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet. The 4 digits of the year are mentioned between the arms of the cross. The candle is the symbol of the permanent presence of Christ, who was, is and will always be with the man.

On the occasion of celebrating the Lord’s Resurrection, the Metropolitan Archbishop  Ioan Robu addressed a Pastoral Letter to the believers in the Roman-Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest, reminding that all the Christians are “called to light”. By the Baptism, “the light of God has entered into us, so we have become sons of the light. And we don’t want to let this light of truth, which shows us the path, go. We want to protect it from the forces that want to extinguish it and to put us in the darkness where we cannot see either God or ourselves, or our neighbor. We are not called to darkness, but to light!”.

“God gave us the light of truth, further explains IPS Ioan Robu. This light is fire and power of God at the same time, a force that doesn’t destroy, but wants to transform our hearts, to make us become, indeed, men of God, peacemakers and peace-keepers in this world”. “We thank the Resurrected Jesus for leading us to the right path and for pulling up to Him our hearts, by the power of His word and of the holy sacraments! And we ask Him to make us all people of light, full of the fire of His love!”.

His Excellency wishes “Blessed Easter Holidays!” to all the Christians, saying to them the traditional Easter greeting “Christ has risen!”.

On Sunday, April 1, 2018, on the Lord’s Resurrection Day, at 10:30, a solemn Liturgy will be celebrated at the Sf. Iosif Cathedral, being presided by Mons. Miguel Maury Buendía, the Apostolic Nuncio in Romania.

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