His Grace Bishop Macarie Drăgoi of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Northern Europe served the Holy Liturgy on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, at the Stockholm Diocesan Center, during the All-Night Vigil to commemorate Saint Voivode Neagoe Basarab, one of the heavenly protectors of the Diocese of Northern Europe.
In his sermon, PS Macarie showed the deeds for which we honor Saint Voivode Neagoe: “It is a great thing to have a life of godliness, a holy life of hardship, through prayer and tranquility. The greater and most honorable is to have a holy life when you are a family and a country leader, surrounded by so many demands, responsibilities and realities of a family life and a ruler’s status. Saint Neagoe Basarab distinguished himself by his non-figurative love for the priesthood, through his profound devotion to the people of God, through the depth of his ecclesiastical understanding, by his lovingly sanctifying love. His teachings to his son Teodosie are a wonderful example of spiritual education, all the more remarkable as they are meant to form a future voivode. The churches he build in Curtea de Argeş and in Târgovişte stand as a testimony for years over the voivode’s godliness and love of beauty. As the most famous frescoes show us, but as we know from historical testimonies as well, St. Neagoe had an exemplary Christian family life. His wife, Miss Despina Millica, become a nun in the last part of her life, called by her monastic name Platonida.”
The Romanian hierarch urged a more careful veneration of Saint Neagoe Basarab and of those celebrated with him. “In the necropolis of Curtea de Arges, a Votive portrait of the Voivode was made during his lifetime, along with his entire family: Mrs. Despina Militza and the children Teodosie, Peter, John, Stana, Ruxanda and Anghelina. Let’s look carefully and with love that family portrait, to have it as a model, as an inspiration and a cover, as well, for here are the rulers we had. And we have them now still, if we join them through prayer and honesty, and especially if we follow their example of living. And let us not hesitate to look at ourselves and ask ourselves, looking at Saint Neagoe Basarab and his family: are really part of the land of Saint Voivode Neagoe through our deeds and our way of life?”
At the end of the ministry, the hierarch gave the faithful an icon representing Saint Voivode Neagoe. The patrons of the Northern Europe Bishopric are the Holy Apostle Andrew along with the Holy Voivodes Neagoe Basarab of Wallachia, Stefan cel Mare of Moldova and the Brâncoveni Martyrs.