Moscow, Mar. 5, 2007 (CWNews.com) - The chief ecumenical-affairs officer for the Russian Orthodox Church has remarked on a positive trend in relations between Moscow and Rome.

Speaking to the Interfax news service, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk said that “positive changes” in dealings with the Vatican had occurred during the pontificate of Benedict XVI.

One significant source of improvement in relations, the Russian prelate said, came from the fact that Pope Benedict had “removed a Moscow visit from the agenda, as he understood that such a visit would be premature.” Pope John Paul II (bio - news) had frequently expressed his desire to make a visit to Moscow.

Under Pope Benedict, said Metropolitan Kirill, the Holy See has concentrated on “cooperation between the Catholic Church and ours in defending Christian values,” particularly in calling for a moral renewal in Europe. The Russian Orthodox Church can fully endorse those plans, he said, without necessarily resolving other questions on which Moscow and Rome remain at odds.

Differences do remain, Kirill told Interfax, including some “major ones.” He complained that Catholics and Orthodox remain in conflict in the western Ukraine, for example. “Not everything goes easy,” the Russian spokesman concluded.


Teachings of Christ

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

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

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"My son, do not lose sight of these — keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul." (Proverbs 3:21,22a ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

When the holy Abba Anthony lived in the desert he was beset by boredom, and attacked by many sinful thoughts. He said to God, 'Lord, I want to be saved but these thoughts do not leave me alone; what shall I do in my affliction? How can I be saved?'

A short while afterwards, when he got up to go out, Anthony saw a man like himself sitting at his work, getting up from his work to pray, then sitting down and plaiting a rope, then getting up again to pray. It was an angel of the Lord sent to correct and reassure him: 'Do this and you will be saved.' At these words, Anthony was filled with joy and courage. He did this, and he was saved.


The Desert Fathers