CWN - Members of the Russian Catholic Church—one of the smaller Byzantine-rite churches in communion with Rome—fear that they may be forgotten by Vatican officials anxious to improve relations with the Russian Orthodox Church, reports Francis X. Rocca of the Wall Street Journal: Leaders of the Russian Byzantine Catholic Church, with fewer than 30,000 members world-wide, are meeting in Italy this week in their first such synod in a century.

The Russian Catholics have asked Pope Francis for reassurances, and appealed to the Vatican for help in strengthening their community—which has only about 30,000 members. To date they have not received a reply, and an official of the Vatican’s Congregation for Eastern Churches declined to comment for the Wall Street Journal story.

The Orthodox Church dominates religious life in Russia, and the Catholic minority is composed mainly of Latin-rite Catholics. But the Orthodox Church has been extremely sensitive about the existence of Eastern churches in union with Rome, and Vatican support for the Russian Catholic Church would undoubtedly provoke a negative reaction from the Moscow Patriarchate.

The Russian Orthodox Church has frequently complained about the activities of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which is by far the largest of the Eastern Catholic churches. The Moscow patriarchate argues that the Ukrainian Catholic Church is interfering in the “canonical territory” of the Russian Orthodox.

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Teachings of Christ

“Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 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

"My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live." (Proverbs 7:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

“We firmly believe that the Church will never fall, will never waiver and will not be destroyed. For this is what Christ taught, by Whom the heavens were established and the earth was founded, and stands firmly as the Holy Spirit says”. (Ps. 32:6) The Antichrist will lure to himself “those who have a weak and feeble mind, will seduce and will tear them away from the living God.”

St. John of Damascus, Oration on the Transfiguration of the Lord