CWN - The Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow has stepped up its complaints against Ukrainian Catholic Church, demanding that the next worldwide meeting of Orthodox leaders should discuss the status of Eastern churches that are in communion with Rome.

At the same time, however, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has issued a statement of friendship for the Ukrainian Catholic Church, welcoming its support for the recent Orthodox council in Crete.

The Moscow patriarchate, which has complained for years about the “uniate” Catholic Church in Ukraine, has redoubled those complaints, charging that Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk has inflamed hostility toward the Ukrianian Orthodox Church that is allied with Moscow. The Catholic prelate, the Moscow patriarchate charged, has used rhetoric “unprecedented in its aggressiveness toward the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Moscow patriarchate.”

The statement from Moscow alluded to a statement from Archbishop Shevchuk charging that “the Moscow patriarchate has often been used as a tool in the hands of the aggressor.” The archbishop referred to the Moscow patriarchate’s support for Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. (The Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow patriarchate has been notably less aggressive in its statements on the conflict in Ukraine.)

The Moscow patriarchate went on to say that the hostile attitude of the Ukrainian Catholic Church has created an “emergency” which should be addressed at the next meeting of Orthodox leaders. Referring to the “uniate” churches as “a bleeding wound,” Moscow called for the resumption of a discussion of their status. The statement from Moscow blamed the same Ukrainian Catholic Church for having caused a disruption of earlier discussions on that topic.

Meanwhile, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople sent a message of thanks to Archbishop Shevchuk for his support of the Pan-Orthodox Council held in Crete. Significantly, the statement from Constantinople was addressed to “Patriarch” Shevchuk—giving the Ukrainian Catholic leader a title that Moscow rejects and even the Vatican does not acknowledge. In his message Patriarch Bartholomew promised his prayers for “peace and stability in Ukraine.” He also strongly suggested that Moscow’s hostility toward the Ukrainian Catholic Church was not shared by other Orthodox bodies. The Ecumenical Patriarch said:

We can assure Your Eminence that our commitment to dialogue with our Sister Church was overwhelmingly supported in the conciliar sessions and officially recorded in the final document. This, in our opinion, is certainly crucial for reliable and unified witness to the Gospel in our troubled world and time.

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Teachings of Christ

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:16-18 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

"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

The Holy Eucharist is the first, most important, and greatest miracle of Christ. All the other Gospel miracles are secondary. How could we not call the greatest miracle the fact that simple bread and wine were once transformed by the Lord into His very Body and His very Blood, and then have continued to be transformed for nearly two thousand years by the prayers of priests, who are but simple human beings? And what is more, this mystery has continued to effect a miraculous change in those people who communicate of the Divine Mysteries with faith and humility. 

St. Ambrose of Optina