Romania: is pilgrimage crazy in the pandemic?
Due to the high number of infections in the Romanian district of Constanța, the authorities banned the annual pilgrimage to Saint Andrew's Cave on November 30. However, the Orthodox Archbishop Teodosie of Tomis opposed the ban and on the weekend called on the faithful to come to the pilgrimage site to be healed.
Naturally people want to pray for health now
Historian Marius Oprea shows understanding for the desire for the pilgrimage to go ahead. He comments on news website Mediafax:
“Saint Andrew is not just any 'healer' before whom the 'relic kissers' cross themselves, as many write on the Internet. ... He is the spiritual patron saint of the Romanians, he is the apostle of Christ who converted this people to Christianity. During the wars with the Turks, all the great voivodes wore flags showing St. Andrew, the protector of the Romanians. Especially in pandemic times, to ignore the desire of the faithful to pray for their health and for their country at Saint Andrew's Cave would be even worse than the ban on the pilgrimage for St. Paraskeva [in October]. ... Those who go on this pilgrimage don't only pray for themselves, but above all for their country, which is currently undergoing a severe trial.”
Why bother vaccinating?
Journalist Victor Pitigoi mocks the archbishop and the pilgrims in Spotmedia:
“If Archbishop Teodosie really believes what he says, then all research on a new coronavirus vaccine should immediately stop worldwide. The believers should be persuaded that the only way to heal is through pilgrimages. The prime minister, the president and - most definitely - the head of the Orthodox Church, Patriarch Daniel, must also take part in such a pilgrimage. And of course also Archbishop [Teodosie] of Tomis, who deserves to be nominated for the Nobel Prize without delay.”