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

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37 ESV)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (Troparion, Tone 4)

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

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live." (Proverbs 4:4 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The Holy Eucharist is the first, most important, and greatest miracle of Christ. All the other Gospel miracles are secondary. How could we not call the greatest miracle the fact that simple bread and wine were once transformed by the Lord into His very Body and His very Blood, and then have continued to be transformed for nearly two thousand years by the prayers of priests, who are but simple human beings? And what is more, this mystery has continued to effect a miraculous change in those people who communicate of the Divine Mysteries with faith and humility. 

St. Ambrose of Optina