CWN - A joint Catholic-Orthodox commission met this week to begin its exploration of the life of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, whose cause for canonization is a controversial topic in Croatia and Serbia.

The joint commission was established to study questions about the conduct of Cardinal Stepinac during and immediately after World War II, and his ties with Croatian nationalist groups that had fascist connections. An avowed enemy of Communism, the cardinal was convicted of treason in a show trial and sentenced to a 16-year prison term. Released to house arrest after five years, he died in 1960. He was canonized as a martyr by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

The commission studying Cardinal Stepinac's historical role is chaired by Father Bernard Ardura, the president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, and composed mostly of Catholic and Orthodox bishops. The group is expected to conclude its work within a year.

In announcing the first meeting of the joint commission, the Vatican press office noted that it "will not interfere with the process of canonization of Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepanic, which is strictly within the competence of the Holy See."

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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)

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

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9,10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Let us consider, then, brethren, of what matter we were formed, who we are, and with what nature we came into the world, and how He Who formed and created us brought us into His world from the darkness of a grave, and prepared his benefits for us before we were born. Since, therefore, we have everything from Him, we ought in everything to give Him thanks, to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

St. Clement of Rome