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

“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)

Ascension

You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, * granting joy to Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit; * through this blessing they were assured * that You are the Son of God * the Redeemer of the world! (Troparion)

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

When You fulfilled the divine plan for us * and united things on earth with things in heaven, * You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, * in no way departing from us but remaining inseparable, * and crying out to those who love You: “I am with you, and no one is against you.” (Kontakion)

Random Proverb

"Hear, O sons, a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching." (Proverbs 4:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

"And when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. And for three days he could not see." (Acts 9:9)

By no means would he [Saul] have been able to see well again unless he had first been fully blinded. Also, when he had rejected his own wisdom, which was confusing him, he could commit himself totally to faith. Since he had not believed that the Lord had conquered death by rising on the third day, he was now taught by his own experience of the replacement of three days of darkness by the return of the light.

Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles from the Venerable Bede