CWN - Pope Francis received Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, president of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, in audience on September 15.

According to the Moscow Patriarchate, the two discussed the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, joint efforts in the area of culture, and the February joint statement between the Pope and Patriarch Kirill.

Metropolitan Hilarion also gave Pope Francis, as a gift from Patriarch Kirill, a relic of a Russian monk, St. Seraphim of Sarov (1754-1833).

In addition, Metropolitan Hilarion met with the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

“The participants focused on the situation of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa suffering at the hands of terrorists,” the Moscow Patriarchate said in a statement. “Both Metropolitan Hilarion and Cardinal Pietro Parolin consider the situation difficult, but hope that the negotiations between high-ranking officials of Russia and the USA will yield their good fruit.”

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Teachings of Christ

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (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.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6 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