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

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’" (John 7:37-38 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

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Abbot Macarius was asked: "How should I pray?" The staretz answered: "There is no need to waste time with words; it is enough to hold out your hands and say: 'Lord, have mercy.'  If you are hard pressed in the struggle, say: 'Lord, save me!' He knows what is best for you, and he will have mercy on you."

Abbot Macarius, quoted in St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality, Meyendorff, 1974, SVS Press