CWN - Pope Francis arrived in Georgia on September 30 to begin a three-day visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan, telling Georgian Orthodox Patriarch Ilia II that he came "as a pilgrim and a friend."

In his public remarks on his first day in Georgia, the Pontiff emphasized the importance of peaceful coexistence and mutual respect, calling for friendly relations across ethnic and religious lines.

"Peaceful coexistence among all people and states in the region is the indispensable and prior condition for authentic and enduring progress," the Pope said in an address to Georgia's political leaders. Although he did not allude directly to Georgia's contentious border dispute with Russia, he did affirm the sovereignty of the country, and mentioned Georgia's distinct status as a "natural bridge between Europe and Asia, a link that facilitates communication and relations among people."

Later in the day, meeting with the Orthodox Patriarch Ilia, the Pope again spoke of peace and reconciliation, referring to the gradual warming of the formerly distant relations between the Georgian Orthodox Church and the Holy See. He praised the elderly Georgian prelate for making "the first historic visit of a Georgian Patriarch to the Vatican," to meet with Pope John Paul II in 1980.

Speaking to Orthodox clerics, the Pope said that in a divided world, it is essential for Christians to intensify "our commitment to the bonds which exist between us." He reminded them that "we are called to overcome our true enemies, who are not of flesh and blood, but rather the evil spirits from without and from within ourselves."

On Friday evening, the Pope concluded his public schedule for the day by visiting the Chaldean Catholic Church of St. Simon, to pray particularly for peace and welfare among the Chaldean faithful—those still living in their ancestral home in Iraq and the many others in the diaspora.

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Teachings of Christ

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33 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

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts. Hence, if we feel in our hearts the cold that comes from the devil - for the devil is cold - let us call on the Lord. He will come to warm our hearts with perfect love, not only for Him but also for our neighbor, and the cold of him who hates the good will flee before the heat of His countenance.

St. Seraphim of Sarov