CWN - Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has sent a message of encouragement to the Orthodox prelates who have gathered in Crete for the Pan-Orthodox Council that opens on Sunday.

Although the Russian Orthodox Church has indicated that it will not participate in the meeting, Patriarch Kirill wrote that the disputes among Orthodox churches must not be allowed to “bring division and trouble into our ranks.” He urged respect for the decisions of all Church leaders, whether or not they had opted to join in this week’s council.

The Russian Patriarch said that the meeting in Crete “can become an important step toward overcoming the present differences.” It could, he said, aid in “the preparation of that Holy and Great Council which will unite all the local autocephalous churches without exception.” Thus he reiterated the stand of the Moscow Patriarchate that because some Orthodox churches will be absent, the meeting in Crete should be seen as a prelude to the Pan-Orthodox Council, rather than—as it was intended—the council itself.

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Teachings of Christ

“Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 ESV)

Resurrection

Christ is risen from the dead * trampling down Death by death, * and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (Troparion)

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

Although You descended into the tomb, O Immortal One, * You destroyed the power of Hades; * You arose as the victor, O Christ God, * proclaiming to the myrrh-bearing women: “Rejoice!” * And granting peace to Your Apostles, * O, You, Who gives resurrection to the fallen. (Kontakion)

Random Proverb

"Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her." (Proverbs 8:10,11 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The soul has followed Moses and the cloud, both of these serving as guides for those who would advance in virtue; Moses here represents the commandments of the Law; and the cloud that leads the way, its spiritual meaning. The soul has been purified by crossing the Sea; it has removed from itself and destroyed the enemy army. It has tasted of the waters of Marah, that is, of life deprived of all sinful pleasure; and this at first had seemed bitter and unpleasant to the taste but offered a sensation of sweetness to those who accepted the wood. Next it enjoyed the beauty of the palm trees of the gospel and the springs; it filled itself with the living water, that is, the rock. It took within itself the bread of heaven. It overwhelmed the foreign host - a victory due to the extended arms of the Lawgiver, which thus foreshadowed the mystery of the Cross. Only then can the soul go on to the contemplation of transcendent Being.

St. Gregory of Nyssa