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

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account." (Matthew 5:11 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 woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing." (Proverbs 9:13 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Even a pious person is not immune to spiritual sickness if he does not have a wise guide -- either a living person or a spiritual writer. This sickness is called _prelest_, or spiritual delusion, imagining oneself to be near to God and to the realm of the divine and supernatural. Even zealous ascetics in monasteries are sometimes subject to this delusion, but of course, laymen who are zealous in external struggles (podvigi) undergo it much more frequently. Surpassing their acquaintances in struggles of prayer and fasting, they imagine that they are seers of divine visions, or at least of dreams inspired by grace. In every event of their lives, they see special intentional directions from God or their guardian angel. And then they start imagining that they are God's elect, and often try to foretell the future. The Holy Fathers armed themselves against nothing so fiercely as against this sickness -- prelest.

Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky