ISTANBUL, Turkey – His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of all Orthodox Christians around the world, welcomed His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church, at Atatürk International Airport in Istanbul.   

"Your Holiness and most beloved brother in Christ, we welcome you with great joy, honour and love. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord", stressed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, as he greeted Pope Benedict XVI.

This warm greeting of the two Primates of the Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church, and the realization of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Istanbul, brings a message of love and peace for millions of Christians around the world.

It is significant that this is the first official visit of the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church to Istanbul in the past 27 years.  The previous visit was in 1979 when Patriarch Demetrios welcomed Pope John Paul II. This visit also constitutes a historical continuity of previous meetings of Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI, who proclaimed the lifting of the anathemas (excommunications), which accompanied the great Schism of the Church and divided Christianity in 1054.  

The Ecumenical Patriarch was accompanied at the airport by Archbishop Demetrios of America and Metropolitan John of Pergamon, the Co-President of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

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


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)

Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (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.

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

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

Demons often transform themselves into angels of light and take the form of martyrs, and make it appear to us during sleep that we are in communication with them. Then, when we wake up, they plunge us into unholy joy and conceit. But you can detect their deceit by this very fact. For angles reveal torments, judgments and separations; and when we wake up we find that we are trembling and sad. As soon as we begin to believe the demons in dreams, then they make sport of us when we are awake too. He who believes in dreams is completely inexperienced. 'But he who distrusts all dreams is a wise man. Only believe dreams that warn you of torments and judgments. But if despair afflicts you, then such dreams are also from demons.

St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent