The program is a reflection of the potential and the role of religious tourism and sacred places as a tool for socio-economic and cultural development of destinations.
The visitor of sacred places in general and the one of Murighiol/Dobruja in particular, is characterized by a remarkable loyalty to the visited site.
Hence, it can be said that tourist’s loyalty is in these cases an essential element of the relationship that the religious tourist and the pilgrim establish with the destinations which they are visiting.
Thus, a key principle is to preserve the spirit of the destinations, authenticity and integrity in the way that they are managed and promoted while making them accessible for all.
Taken in consideration all of the above considerations the European Tourism Council has decided that: 2018/2019 will be a year dedicated to the celebration of the Christian heritage of the Europe and also of the unity of the continent and will also mark the Latin continuity and the two millennia of Christian life on Dobruja and Balkans and Asia Minor (today`s Turkey) by presenting the sacred heritage of Holy Martyrs Epictetus and Astion, has decided the Academic Council of European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT).
Saints Martyrs Epictetus and Astion are perfectly representing the values of today Europe as their life and sacrifice is creating a pilgrimage of faith that is uniting Turkey with Balkans and Eastern Europe.During their life and priesthood they spread the Christian light from Asia Minor (nowadays Turkey) through Balkans and obtained their crown of immortality in today Romania-Dubruja/Dobrogea.
By their life work and sacrifice they united Asia and Europe , East and West.
They also united Orthodox Christian and Catholic Church as they are celebrated in both rites and are speaking about the unity of Christianity in the world of today, they are the bridge that can and will unite the two Christian Churches.
They are also a perfect example of sacrifice and life offered in the service of Our Savior Jesus Christ, has highlighted their significance Professor Dr. Anton Caragea – ECTT President.
Europe of our days needs to be remembered his Latin/Roman and Christian roots and we must not overlook that we are the beneficiaries of two millennia of Christian legacy this are fundamental dates of the historical evolution of European culture.
In this perspective, the Saints Martyrs Epictetus and Astion role is a fundamental one as we are speaking of the oldest historically proven martyrs of the Church on the territory of Eastern Europe, they are not only teaching us on the uninterrupted continuity of civilization on the banks of Danube, but also are offering us a lesson on the love for Christ of our people, even more resounding as we are having here saints registered in the Catholic and Orthodox pantheon so truly universal saints testifying for the Holy Church in his wholeness, saints that are making Europe proud of her legacy, concluded the historical presentation of the moment President Professor Dr. Anton Caragea.
The focal point of the celebrations for 2018/2019 THE YEAR OF SAINTS MARTYRS EPICTETUS AND ASTION will take place on July 8, 2018 and on July 8, 2019 (dates marking the beginning and the end of the celebrations) on Murighiol (former roman city of Halmyris) in the cathedral of Saints Epictetus and Astion with a special mass taking place in the honor of the holy martyrs of Christian faith and of European Christian legacy and heritage: Saints EPICTETUS and ASTION.
The celebrations will be lead by European cultural, religious and political personalities and by representatives of all Christian faith denominations leaders and will also have European Council on Tourism and Trade President-Professor Dr. Anton Caragea in attendance.
The proposal for an European wide celebration of Saints EPICTETUS and ASTION was made by Romania and unanimously approved by European Council on Tourism and Trade as an European Cultural Pilgrimage Program dedicated to highlight the cultural richness and potential of heritage to unite peoples and traditions.
The excavated ruins of the Roman Cathedral built on VIII century on the spot where Saints Epictetus and Astion suffered martyrdom for their faith in Jesus Christ in 290 after Chr.
ON SAINTS MARTYRS EPICTETUS AND ASTION.
Life and their passion where retold in the Acts of the Martyrs, but unfortunately the originals where destroyed,and their holy martyr act we were kept only in a later century copy. XV, located in the Church of the Saviour in Utrecht and was published in 1615 by Jesuit scholar Herbert Rosweyde († 1629).
In 1921, Benedictine Dom Germain Morin discovered in remembrance of martyrology Ieronimian St. Epictetus and Astion on May 23 in “The S.S. Epicteto presbytero et Astion monachu martyribus Almiridensibus in Scythia “, confirming the veracity of statements he Acta Sanctorum, edited by H. Rosweyde, mentioned above.
Acta Sanctorum took passages from a study of its impact on the two saints and martyrs renowned researcher and historian Netzhammer Raymund (1862-1945), Catholic archbishop arrived in Bucharest and left posterity work Epiktet und Astion, diokletianische Martyrer I Danaudelta, Zug. 1937.
The terrible proof of martyrdom: the beheaded sacred bodies of the saints discovered after an 1700 years hiatus.