CWN - The Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow is attempting to enlist the Vatican and other Christian bodies in opposition to proposed regarding religion in Ukraine.

The proposed laws would place restrictions on religious bodies whose leaders is based in “an aggressive state,” requiring them to recognize the geographical integrity of Ukraine and allowing the government to approve their leaders. These measures are obviously aimed at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church affiliated with Moscow. Russia, which has annexed Crimea and is blamed with fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, is recognized by that country as an “aggressor state.”

The Moscow patriarchate contends that “no religious community in Ukraine” has endorsed the proposal. But in reality the legislation is strongly backed by the Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, who broke with Moscow in the 1990s to establish the independent Orthodox Patriarchate of Kiev. Not coincidentally, the legislation would require the Ukrainian Orthodox Church- Moscow patriarchate, to recognize the legitimacy of the competing Kiev patriarchate.

An AsiaNews account of the ecclesiastical skirmishing also notes the dispute over the size of the two Orthodox patriarchates in Ukraine. Moscow claims jurisdiction over twice as many parishes, but—since parishes can differ in size—survey results show that Kiev commands the allegiance of more believers. All these claims are heavily disputed.

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Teachings of Christ

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

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

Prayer is grace. God gives it when there exists zeal and humility…. Let Christ not be missing from your heart.