CWN - On October 1, the second of his two days in the Caucasus nation of Georgia, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the Catholic community, paid tribute to charity workers at a health-care clinic run by the Camillian order, and visited the Georgian Orthodox patriarchal cathedral.

A nation of 3.7 million, Georgia is 84% Eastern Orthodox, 10% Muslim, and 2% Catholic.

Some of the Pope’s most memorable remarks came during extemporaneous comments at the Latin-rite Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital.

Lamenting the pain suffered by children as a result of divorce, he said, “You do not know, dear brothers and sisters, you do not know how much children suffer, the little ones, when they witness the arguments and the separation of parents! Everything should be done to save a marriage.”

He added: "You, Irina, mentioned a great enemy to marriage today: the theory of gender. Today there is a world war to destroy marriage. Today there are ideological colonizations which destroy, not with weapons, but with ideas. Therefore, there is a need to defend ourselves from ideological colonizations."

Turning to relations with the Orthodox, he said: "Let the theologians study the abstract realities of theology. But what should I do with a friend, neighbor, an Orthodox person? Be open, be a friend. “But should I make efforts to convert him or her?” There is a very grave sin against ecumenism: proselytism. We should never proselytize the Orthodox! They are our brothers and sisters, disciples of Jesus Christ."

Earlier in the day, during Mass at Mikheil Meskhi Stadium, the Pope called upon the faithful to receive the consolation of God through “the Gospel we read every day and carry around with us, our silent prayer in adoration, confession, the Eucharist,” and then in turn to impart God’s consolation to others.

During his visit to the Svietyskhoveli Patriarchal Cathedral in Mskheta, the Pope said that Christians are called “to avoid putting first disharmony and divisions between the baptized, because what unites us is much more than what divides us.”

“The holy tunic, a mystery of unity, exhorts us to feel deep pain over the historical divisions which have arisen among Christians: these are the true and real lacerations that wound the Lord’s flesh,” he continued. “At the same time, however, ‘that unity which comes from above,’ the love of Christ which has brought us together, giving us not only his garment but his very body, urge us to not give up but rather to offer ourselves as he did (cf. Rom 12:1): they urge us to sincere charity and to mutual understanding, to bind up wounds, with a spirit of pure Christian fraternity.”

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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

"Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you." (Proverbs 3:28 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Let not us who would be Christians expect anything else than to be crucified....for to be Christian is to be crucified in this time and in any time since Christ came for the first time. His life is the example and warning to us all. We must be crucified personally,mystically; for trough crucifixion is the only path to resurrection, if we would rise with Christ, we must be humbled with him even to the ultimate humiliation, being devoured and spit forth by the uncomprehending world.... We must be crucified outwardly in the eyes of the world, for Christ's kingdom is not of this world and world cannot bear it, even a single representative, even for the single moment.

Fr Seraphim Rose