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

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV)

Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (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.

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights." (Proverbs 3:11,12 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

For to despise the present age, not to love transitory things, unreservedly to stretch out the mind in humility to God and our neighbor, to preserve patience against offered insults and, with patience guarded, to repel the pain of malice from the heart, to give one's property to the poor, not to covet that of others, to esteem the friend in God, on God's account to love even those who are hostile, to mourn at the affliction of a neighbor, not to exult in the death of one who is an enemy, this is the new creature whom the Master of the nations seeks with watchful eye amid the other disciples, saying:"If, then, any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away. Behold all things are made new" (2 Cor. 5:17). 

St. Gregory the Great