CWN - Metropolitan Hilarion of Volkolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, met on February 21 with representative from 11 Arab states.

“The great evil of extremism acting under religious slogans has raised its head,” Metropolitan Hilarion said. “Terrorists exterminate Christianity by fire and sword at the places where Christians have been living for nearly two thousand years. I am convinced that the situation of a Christian community in this or that country of the Middle East is an indicator of security and stability.”

The prelate also criticized two ideas he termed “erroneous”: first, “the idea that Christians are a part of the sinful Western world, that they are accomplices of Islam’s enemies”; and second, that there exists “religious terrorism” or “Islamic terrorism.”

He explained:"There cannot be any terrorism on religious grounds or terrorism based on religious beliefs. Not one of the traditional religions teaches to kill people. All religions call for peace. And the history of coexistence of Christians and Muslims in the Middle East, in other regions, in Russia proves that the two religions can co-exist in peace and mutual respect."

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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

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom." (Proverbs 11:2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

We ought to learn the virtues through practicing them, not merely through talking about them, so that by acquiring the habit of them we do not forget what is of benefit to us. 'The kingdom of God', St. Paul says, 'resides not in words but in power' (I Cor. 4:20). For he who tries to discover things through actual practice will come to understand what gain or loss lies in any activity that he pursues..."

St. Peter of Damaskos (Book 1:A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, The Philokalia Vol. 3 pg. 183)