Benedict XVI Tells Alexy II the Times Urge Haste

By Inmaculada Álvarez

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 6, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI sent a personal message to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II saying that modern times call for a hastening of the journey toward Christian unity.

The Sept. 22 message was hand-delivered to Alexy II by the archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, on an official visit to Moscow at the invitation of the patriarch. The cardinal gave the message to the patriarch in a meeting that lasted a little more than an hour last Thursday.

"I have a deep affection for all the Orthodox brethren, and I am particularly close to them in these most recent days when conflict has caused significant suffering to peoples so dear to me," the Holy Father said. "I never cease to offer daily prayers for peace, asking the Lord that the appeals of Your Holiness to resolve all hostility for the good of the nations may be heeded."

He added: "Faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ is a bond that unites hearts in a profound way and invites us all to strengthen our commitment to manifest to the world a shared witness of living together respectfully and peacefully.

"Our times, marked so often by conflict and grief, make it even more necessary to hasten the journey toward the full unity of all the disciples of Christ, so that the joyous message of salvation may be spread to all humanity."

Getting closer

Cardinal Sepe told Vatican Radio on the day of his meeting with Alexy II that the Orthodox and Catholic Churches are growing ever closer, "as the patriarch himself emphasized with emotion."

"The impression is that a very important step has been taken to create a climate of closeness and mutual respect, of fraternity and friendship," he added.

Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni, president of the Italian bishops' ecumenism commission, who was also present in the meeting with Alexy II, said that the process of growing closer should proceed with meetings between the various pastors of both Churches.

On the path to unity, the bishop added, "meetings between experts are no longer sufficient." Rather, ecumenism "is a coming together of the Churches."

And, Bishop Paglia affirmed, ecumenism is more and more "a demand of contemporary society."

"The harmony between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church is ever more evident," he said, referring to the challenges presented to all Christians in Europe and contemporary society. "Certain limits and challenges can only be faced from a perspective of unity."

ZE08100604 - 2008-10-06
Permalink: http://www.zenit.org/article-23824?l=english

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Benedict XVI's letter: www.zenit.org/article-23823?l=english


Teachings of Christ

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23 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

"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest." (Proverbs 6:6-8 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

For to despise the present age, not to love transitory things, unreservedly to stretch out the mind in humility to God and our neighbor, to preserve patience against offered insults and, with patience guarded, to repel the pain of malice from the heart, to give one's property to the poor, not to covet that of others, to esteem the friend in God, on God's account to love even those who are hostile, to mourn at the affliction of a neighbor, not to exult in the death of one who is an enemy, this is the new creature whom the Master of the nations seeks with watchful eye amid the other disciples, saying: "If, then, any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away. Behold all things are made new" (2Cor. 5:17).

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