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The Advent, which begins on Wednesday, is actually ‘a pilgrimage with the three magi of eternity - faith, hope and love,' says priest Constantin Necula, pastoral and image counselor to the Transylvanian Metropolitan Church, in an interview with AGERPRES.

Priest Necula is convinced that "we are at the heart of terrible days," in a "permanent treason of values", and the Greater Union should be celebrated on December 1 with prayers only, without speeches.

"We are a Romania tired with obsessions. We have lost the ideal of real unity, and true political leaders are late to appear because we do not cultivate truth but party justice. We have gained a 100-year past together that can be the foundation of a new centennial," the priest says.

AGERPRES: Father, what does the Advent mean?

Constantin Necula: A way of finding our limits, regarding our body and soul, our entire human being. It's a pilgrimage to Bethlehem. One in which we get to know ourselves and the One who is born for us in the Cave which becomes the Palace of the Incarnation. A pilgrimage with the three magi of eternity - faith, hope and love - accompanying us. In this Advent we find out how much humanity is left in us. How much truth and how much real life, undiluted with false ideals or ideologies.

AGERPRES: What advice do you give to a believer who cannot fast?

Constantin Necula: To rejoice in the things he can abstain from. To pray or to give away to charity, to seek to understand where their weaknesses come from. Not to be hypocritical but neither tempting to the spiritual poverty of the present time.

AGERPRES: St. Basil the Great said that true fasting is the keeping out of mischief. How can we manage to keep out of mischief?

Constantin Necula: By not condoning the judgment of other people. We are at the heart of terrible days. We accuse each other of sheer incompetence, awful deeds and betrayals. And this is what we are, in a permanent betrayal of values. To keep out of mieschief means doing good in the name of Christ, not of any ideology that uses the good for propaganda. Our humility is the main means by which our soul moves away of bad deeds and evil.

AGERPRES: 1 December - The Centennial of the Greater Union will be in the Advent. How do you think Romanians should celebrate this year's national day?

Constantin Necula: With fasting and liturgy. Many will be missing from the historical memories, but not from the Church's memorial. I think it is an astral moment. I wish no one spoke on 1 December, no speech then. But only a warm prayer of remembrance and thanksgiving. I think we should keep our silence and decency. Other than that, what can I say, everyone will feast the best way they can.

AGERPRES: If you were to describe the Romanian society one hundred years after the Greater Union, in a single sentence, what would that be? What have we lost all this time, we, as a nation? What have we gained?

Constantin Necula: We are a Romania tired in obsessions. We have lost the ideal of real unity and true political leaders are late to appear because we do not cultivate truth but party justice. We have won a 100-year past together, which can be the foundation of a new centennial.

AGERPRES: The latest polls have showed that the Romanians' confidence in the Church has decreased. What pushes Romanians away from the Church?

Constantin Necula: I do not believe that confidence has decreased, but what has greatly increased is the wicked manipulation. It's a time of sifting and discerning. Compared to other institutions, given that we like the comparative polling, the Church remains with the highest trust capital relative to the investment in image that is being made. I am truly honored when I see how much is being invested for the smearing of the Church, a sign that it is still extremely strong. It disturbs. As far as moving away from the Church is concerned, I believe that it is related to each and everyone's experience, of the way they welcome the arguments and process them.
I really ask those who do not understand the Church to take their distance from it, breathe the air they need in understanding things. The church is not as portrayed in the news. It is much broader and cleaner and more alive than anyone could ever imagine. I believe that to the extent that some move away from the Church others approach it and grow in it. They see and live. I do not think the percentages against the Church are real just as the ones in her favor at the referendum were grossly swollen. The hysteria at the referendum also started the disillusionment of the people of the Church versus the civil society, with the parties and the bodies responsible for the enforcement of democracy. I believe the percentages lost by the alliance against the Church are much larger than is believed.

AGERPRES: Soon, the People's Salvation Cathedral will be ready. Will this change in any way the life of the Romanian believers? Do they find God there faster?

Constantin Necula: No. There is the place where we search for ourselves to see God. It is like the Houston of our spiritual launch. I think that in time we will see the fruits of such an eventful construction, of this monument that will remind us that we have not entirely lost our Romanian character and humanity. In the Cathedral we are all together. A country of loud and quiet people, poor and rich, forgetful and grateful. You know, I believe, in fact, that the big tower of the Cathedral is up, on Caraiman [mountain], adorned with the Cross made of the steel of our first defeat, transformed by Romanian blood into the victory of 1 December, 1918. So is the Cathedral. It has taken over all our defeats and humiliations over the past 100 years. And it rises as a victory. It will only change the lives of those who always seek God with the insistence of the soldiers on the front who know that they are defending their family and nation. For the others, the superficial ones, their change or finding God is out of the question. This is just the pretext of their mockery, not the burn in their souls to make them thirsty after heaven. The Cathedral is the country. AGERPRES (RO - author: Isabela Paulescu, editor: Mirela Barbulescu; EN - author: Bogdan Gabaroi; editor: Simona Iacob)

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