Says They Are Causes of Joy

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 24, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI reviewed key ecumenical meetings that he participated in during 2006, saying they were significant moments in the move toward Christian unity.

The Pope said this today at the general audience held in Paul VI Hall.

He began the review by recalling the official visit of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches last January: "The international Catholic-Reformed Commission presented a document, for the consideration of the respective authorities, which concluded with a process of dialogue initiated in 1970, which has lasted, therefore, 36 years."

Last Jan. 25, the first stage of preparation for the third European Ecumenical Assembly was launched in Rome. The assembly was then held in September in Sibiu, Romania.

During Wednesday audiences, the Pontiff received the delegations of the World Baptist Alliance and of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the United States.

"I had the opportunity, moreover, to meet with the leaders of the Orthodox Church of Georgia, which I follow with affection, continuing the bond of friendship that united His Holiness Ilia II with my venerated predecessor, the Servant of God Pope John Paul II," said Benedict XVI on the eve of the closing of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The German Pope also recalled that the Holy See attended the summit of religious leaders, held in Moscow in July, at the initiative of Alexy II, Orthodox patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

"Useful afterward was the visit of Metropolitan Kirill of the Patriarchate of Moscow, who expressed the intention to reach a more explicit normalization of our bilateral relations," the Pontiff added.

Milestones

In November, the Holy Father was visited by Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury and primate of the Anglican Communion.

"I shared with him and his entourage a significant moment of prayer in the Redemptoris Mater chapel of the Apostolic Palace," the Pope said.

Benedict XVI then mentioned "the unforgettable apostolic journey to Turkey" from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 and, in particular, the meeting with the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.

In December, the Holy Father was visited for the first time by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece.

"Are these not perhaps instances of lofty spiritual values, moments of joy, of great significance in this slow ascent to unity of which I have spoken?" the Pontiff continued. "These moments illuminate the commitment, often silent, but intense, that unites us in the quest for unity. They encourage us to make every possible effort to continue on this slow but important ascent."

Code: ZE07012406

Date: 2007-01-24

 


Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6 ESV)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

No one has to be embarrassed over his sinful state. ‘There is no man who, while living, does not sin,’ and the more sinful the man, the stronger will be God’s help in leading him out of his sinful mire. But the help of God comes only when the sinner repents with heartfelt contrition and has the will to reform. Not seeing in himself enough strength of soul to break away from sinful deeds, he asks for God’s help. This is where the mercy of God, Who does not wish the death of the sinner but wants him to be converted and live, is often evident.… If the voice of conscience awakens in us a feeling of remorse or repentance, then we must pray fervently to the Guardian Angel of our human existence that he may keep us from corrupt downfalls and help us ‘serve God with fear and trembling.’

Elder Macarius of Optina