CWN - Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, traveled to Moscow on the occasion of the 70th birthday of Patriarch Kirill and met with him on November 22.

Patriarch Kirill, who leads the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches, expressed his gratitude for recent developments in relations with the Holy See, particularly his meeting in February with Pope Francis in Havana, the signing of the joint declaration there, and recent actions to assist persecuted Christians.

Turning to the geopolitical sphere, the patriarch said that “the actions of the existing coalitions still lack proper coordination, necessary for combating terrorism successfully.”

“I am convinced that only joint coordinated actions aimed at achieving specific goals can really help defeat terrorism,” he added.

For his part, Cardinal Koch said:

I wish to convey to Your Holiness, my beloved brother in Christ, the assurance of my personal best wishes and fervent prayers on the occasion of your seventieth birthday. I thank the Lord for the abundant blessings that he has bestowed upon you in your life and in your ministry as Pastor of the Russian Orthodox Church. I am especially grateful for your personal contribution to the rapprochement between our Churches and I recall with great emotion our historic meeting in Havana.

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Teachings of Christ

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37 ESV)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (Troparion, Tone 4)

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

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9,10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

“Only one sin is nowadays severely punished: the attentive observance of the traditions of our Fathers. For that reason the good ones are thrown out of their places and brought to the desert.” (ep. 243)