ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Benedict XVI walked alongside each other amid the sound of church bells after a day of worship, ecumenical dialogue, and fraternal embrace.

In a mutual statement of ecclesiastical solidarity, the two Church leaders renewed their commitment to work towards the restoration of Full Communion between the two Churches.

His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s gift to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was an ancient book of the Gospels (the first four books of the New Testament).

Patriarch Bartholomew said: “Your Holiness, in remembrance of your blessed visit to our Church, expressing to you both our joy and gratitude, we offer to you this Holy Gospel, on the first page of which is inscribed: ‘You are the imitators of Christ’. Let us be therefore imitators of our common Lord and Savior,” said the Patriarch, “praying and working for love, unity and peace to prevail in our Churches and the whole world”.

The Pope's visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate came at the invitation of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians world-wide. It was the first visit of a Pope to the Ecumenical Patriarchate since 1979.

Pope Benedict XVI attended services celebrated by Ecumenical Patriarchal Bartholomew and his Holy Synod in the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George for the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle, the Patron Saint of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

(Note: For more information, please log on to www.patriarchate.org)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Teachings of Christ

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 ESV)

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (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.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"Hear, O sons, a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching." (Proverbs 4:1,2 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