Romanian Patriarch Church Urges Love And Tolerance Towards HIV Infected Persons
Published by Editura Traditie, January 31, 2004
PATRIARCH OF THE ROMANIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH URGES LOVE AND TOLERANCE TOWARDS
HIV INFECTED PERSONS
The Romanian Orthodox Church joined the national campaign for
combating the intolerance towards the HIV infected persons, initiated by
the United States of America International Development (USAID) in
cooperation with the Romanian government and international non-governmental
His Beatitude Patriarch Teoctist addressed the Romanians, within
the framework of this campaign, urging them to love and tolerance towards
those affected by this disease.
If it is a natural desire of the man to reach his own good says
the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church it is a Christians duty to
search, to the same extent, his neighbours good, obeying in this way the
greatest and holiest law given by Christ: Love your neighbour as you love
yourself (Luke 10:27).
This year brings new trials in the way of the good looked for by
some of our fellow beings. We refer here to those who suffer from the
terrible AIDS disease. For them, the good wanted is a basic one: survival.
However, their fight against this disease is not equal. It is only with our
help that they can win it, and their victory is called: one more day,
month or year of life. It was not by chance that the international
community was dedicated last December to the fight against AIDS, as well as
against the intolerance that some of our brothers manifest towards this
scourge of the century.
Saint Paul the Apostle advises us, when saying: Help to carry one
anothers burden, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ (Luke
6:2). But many of these sick persons have nobody to help them to carry the
heavy burden, as their fellow beings avoid them, and the communities they
belong to marginalize them. Did the Lord avoid the sick, for fear to get
sick? Did He reject them, when they ask Him for help and comfort? No, He
did not, but taking pity on them, He held out His hand and touched them
( ) (Mark 1:10).
Therefore, we have the duty to accept them among us and to help all
those in need. So, our Church gives everybody the example of the
sacrificial service for our neighbour, through the pastoral-spiritual
activity that many devoted priests unfold in social centres and hospitals,
especially in those with special sections for treating those suffering from
AIDS. While following the example of the Lord, they watch and comfort them
day by day, encouraging them to face the disease. These deeds are, many
times, their only help, but also the greatest proof of the love that we can
offer them. Yet, due to various reasons, many of us avoid them. This is why
we think that the example that these servants of the holy altars give is
worthy following by all those who have such sick persons around.
Christ identifies Himself with these brothers of ours when He says:
I was sick and you took care of me (Matthew 25:36). We are all Christs
friends. He loves us all alike. If we banish them, we banish Christ. If we
do not care about them, we do not care about Christ. We must never forget
that they are also our neighbours who need love and understanding.
May the God of mercy, the One who embraces us all with His
unlimited love for all alike, give us all good health and forgiveness of
sins, for the healing of our souls and bodies, says His Beatitude
Patriarch Teoctist in the end.