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

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’" (John 7:37-38 ESV)

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (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.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself." (Proverbs 6:32 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Even a pious person is not immune to spiritual sickness if he does not have a wise guide -- either a living person or a spiritual writer. This sickness is called _prelest_, or spiritual delusion, imagining oneself to be near to God and to the realm of the divine and supernatural. Even zealous ascetics in monasteries are sometimes subject to this delusion, but of course, laymen who are zealous in external struggles (podvigi) undergo it much more frequently. Surpassing their acquaintances in struggles of prayer and fasting, they imagine that they are seers of divine visions, or at least of dreams inspired by grace. In every event of their lives, they see special intentional directions from God or their guardian angel. And then they start imagining that they are God's elect, and often try to foretell the future. The Holy Fathers armed themselves against nothing so fiercely as against this sickness -- prelest.

Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky