The eyes of the Virgin Mary under whose protection I have placed myself as I travel, search deeply into the soul of those who enter the temple of her Son. This will be the final image of the Virgin I will see on my journey into the artistic heritage of the Romanian people, rooted in the Christian faith. This image will remain in my mind as I begin my journey to central Asia to journey a little bit on the Silk Road on which so much cultural interaction occurred.
The church in Bucharest that evoked a powerful spiritual emotion within me was the Stavropoleos. The monastic church which today is the heart of the life of prayer of the sisters who live there makes me realize how important prayer is at the heart of the city. I would like to share with you what I found striking.
The icon of the Virgin draws me to prayer. The greatest impression on me has been the very careful way in which people make the sign of the cross three times and then venerate the icons. I have seen people bless themselves three times as they walk in front of the church. I have even begun to do that! The sign of the cross is so ancient and the people of the cross should take deep spiritual consolation in that through the cross joy has come into the world. The greatest gift I have been given through the public piety of the Romanian people is a renewed sense of the beauty of the sign of the cross.
And people even place the cross on the apex of the roofs of their home. The cross is the sign of the victory of truth.