CWN - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, paid tribute to his predecessor, Patriarch Sergius I, who governed the Church from 1925 to 1944.

Ninety years ago, Patriarch Sergius controversially declared his “absolute loyalty” to the Communist regime in an attempt to ensure the Church’s survival.

“Metropolitan Sergius took that step without violating by any means either the dogmata or canons,” his current successor said. “His did it to create prerequisites for possible development of relations with the state and for consolidating the situation of the Church in the then Soviet Union.”

Nonetheless, the Church entered “an epoch of terrible persecution” under Stalin, said Patriarch Kirill.

“It is the gravest page of our national history, the hardest page in the history of the Church,” he added, as he paid tribute to the “new martyrs and confessors, who remained faithful to Christ, did not waver in their faith and did not reject God and the Church.”

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Teachings of Christ

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23 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

"Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold." (Proverbs 3:13,14 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Those who have truly decided to serve the Lord God should practice the remembrance of God and uninterrupted prayer to Jesus Christ, mentally saying: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

St. Seraphim of Sarov