Saint Andrew is the spiritual father or Apostle of the Romanians, the ethnogenesis and Christianization of our people being "simultaneous and slow", Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church said on Tuesday.
"When St. Andrew the Apostle arrived in Scythia Minor, today's Dobrogea, he found Greek merchants, Roman occupiers and local Geto-Dacian tribes. (...) The Romanian people formed gradually, slowly, as a new people in history, that became Christian while it was taking shape. Ethnogenesis and Christianity were simultaneous and slow. It was a slow but deep Christianization, something that later contributed to the Romanian people, made up of Geto-Dacians and Romans, withstanding many waves of migrating peoples from the east, to preserve their identity and faith," said the Head of the Romanian Orthodox Church, according to the Basilica Agency.
The Patriarch pointed out that the Holy Apostle Andrew "did not practice conversion in the markets, like St. Paul the Apostle, who preached to the crowds gathered in the city squares, but had another method of Christianization: preaching the gospel to Christian families, who invited other inhabitants who were not Christians".
"His method was discreet and based on preaching in various families or small gatherings of locals, or sometimes in caves, which were not as visible as the public squares in the cities," His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel explained.
He also spoke about the reunion of the Romanians with their spiritual protector, in 1996, between October 12 and 15, when, on the Feast of Saint Pious Parascheva, the head of the Holy Apostle Andrew was brought by His Eminence Nikodemos, Metropolitan of Patras, to Iasi, the head of the saint then reaching Galati.
The head of the Holy Apostle Andrew was brought back to Romania in 2011, on the feast of St. Demetrius the New, with him being "surrounded the foundation of the new cathedral as a sign of blessing of the beginning of the [National, ed.n.] Cathedral", and on the same day, the head of the saint arrived in Sibiu, at the proclamation of the canonization of the Holy Hierarch Andrei Saguna, and later in Alba Iulia, at the proclamation of the canonization of Saint Simion Stefan, recalled Patriarch Daniel.
"In the Centenary Year 2018, at the consecration of the altar of the National Cathedral, came the right hand of St. Andrew the Apostle, brought by His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysostom of Patras. And we said: 'St. Andrew's head thought the Cathedral and his hand helped us to let us raise and sanctify the altar of this cathedral.' So we have a special joy when we commemorate Saint Andrew the Apostle," said the Patriarch.
His Beatitude also mentioned that a fragment of the relics of St. Andrew the Apostle, donated by the Cardinal of Vienna Christoph Schonborn, will be transferred from the Patriarchal Residence to the National Cathedral when it is ready.
"All these data show us that Saint Andrew the Apostle loves the Romanian people, helps the Romanian Orthodox Church and Romanians everywhere to keep the apostolic faith received from him," the Patriarch said.
His Beatitude concluded by sending his best wishes to all who bear the name of Andrew, Andrea and other similar names, praying to the Holy Apostle Andrew "to give them health and happiness, peace and joy and much help in all good deeds."
*The Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called, the Protector of Romania, is celebrated by the Romanian Orthodox Church on November 30.