The Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Daniel, was decorated, on Thursday, by President Klaus Iohannis with the Grand Star with Collar of the National Order of the Star of Romania in a ceremony that took place at Cotroceni Palace.
The President granted the distinction to Patriarch Daniel as a sign of "high appreciation for the exceptional contribution in guiding the pastoral, missionary, cultural and philanthropic activity of the Romanian Orthodox Church, at home and abroad, to increase the common good by the cultivation of inter-confessional and inter-religious dialogue".
"You are the first Patriarch elected since our country's accession to the European Union. You strived in this entire period for the Romanian Orthodox Church to have its positive, well-defined place in the path and fulfilling of the European destiny of the Romanian people," said President Iohannis at the decoration ceremony, agerpres.ro confirms.
He recalled the active presence of the Romanian Orthodox Church during debates on religious freedom and the relations between state and religions, on the occasion of Romania's Presidency of the Council of the European Union. President Iohannis evoked also the fundamental role of Patriarch Daniel in the development of inter-confessional and inter-religious dialogue, nationally and internationally.
Patriarch Daniel stated that he receives the decoration "as an honor for the entire Romanian Orthodox Church," recalling that, as the law provides, the religious organizations are partners of the Romanian state.
"We believe that the freedom we have at the level of manifesting our religious faith is a freedom for cooperation, for co-responsibility, for harmony and peace between all Romanian citizens and among Romanians everywhere," said the Patriarch, who reached the age of 70 on Thursday.