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Romanian Patriarch Church Urges Love And Tolerance Towards HIV Infected Persons

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.orthodoxnews.netfirms.com/105/PATRIARCH%20OF%20THE%20ROMANIAN.htm Published by Editura Traditie, January 31, 2004 PATRIARCH OF THE ROMANIAN ORTHODOX
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 4, 2004
      http://www.orthodoxnews.netfirms.com/105/PATRIARCH%20OF%20THE%20ROMANIAN.htm


      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
      organizations.

      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 Christian’s duty to
      search, to the same extent, his neighbour’s 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
      another’s 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 Christ’s
      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.
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