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Patriarch Daniel of Romania consecrates chapel dedicated to Saint Andrew inside Romanian Parliament

His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania consecrated a chapel dedicated to Saint Andrew inside Romania’s Parliament on Monday evening, 25 March 2024.

After the consecration service, Patriarch Daniel referred to the existence of chapels in different parliaments worldwide, inside airports, near hospitals, or in other public spaces. His Beatitude defined these spaces of recollection as “sources of peace, joy, and hope.”

Dedicated to Saint Andrew
The patriarch recalled that the Council of the Country (Sfatul Tarii) and, later, the Chamber of Deputies were situated adjacent to the metropolitan cathedral during the Romanian people’s history.

Presently, the Parliament of Romania is situated in close proximity to the National Cathedral, which is dedicated to Saint Andrew, the first-called apostle and protector of Romania, and the feast of the Ascension of the Lord.

“For this reason, we proposed Saint Andrew as the chapel’s patron saint of the Romanian Parliament, which adopted a resolution in 2012 designating the Apostle’s feast day as a non-working holiday for the general public.”

A symbol of communion and responsibility
Patriarch Daniel said the chapel’s consecration inside Romania’s Parliament has a particular spiritual meaning: “It highlights the connection between prayer and communion, between worship and culture, including the political culture, between institutional activity and community, between individual freedom and social responsibility.”

“In an increasingly secularised world, a consecrated liturgical space that invites to prayer helps us rediscover the truth that man is called to sainthood in communion with the holy God and in humble ministry towards other people because individual and communal prayer is a source of peace, joy and hope.”

“We pray to God to bless the initiators and supporters of this project,” His Beatitude said, remembering the acting speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Alfred Simonis, the Chamber’s general secretary Silvia-Claudia Mihalcea, and archimandrite Nectarie Sofelea, the exarch of the monasteries within the Bucharest Archdiocese.

Patriarch Daniel offered several liturgical books for the newly consecrated chapel.

Romanian PM: This chapel is a symbol of our commitment to national values
“I have the special honour to participate today in a historic moment, marked by the consecration of the Orthodox chapel in the Romanian Parliament by His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel, whose dedication, tenacity and tireless energy in achieving the common good has always inspired me and given me the privilege of a sincere collaboration and fundamental for the benefit of the entire Romanian society,” said the Romanian PM Marcel Ciolacu at the consecration ceremony on March 25.

“In a world where traditional beliefs and values are often relegated to the background, this chapel is a testament to the crucial role that spirituality plays in our daily lives,” Romania’s Prime Minister noted.

“This chapel is not only a place of peace and refuge in the face of daily challenges and tensions but a symbol of our commitment to national values. I hope this sacred space will inspire and strengthen all who cross its threshold, bringing light and wisdom to our shared journey for the good of all society,” he added.

How it started
Establishing a place of worship in the Romanian Parliament represents an older initiative. The most recent announcement was made last fall at an event marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Prayer Group in the Romanian Parliament.

The initiative took shape on March 11, 2024, when a memorandum was approved regarding the identification of suitable space for the chapel. It was also established that this chapel would not have a permanent priest and that the Archdiocese of Bucharest and the Romanian Patriarchate would coordinate its liturgical activity.

Photography courtesy of Lumina Newspaper / Luigi Ivanciu