CWN - Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill said that the Moscow patriarchate and the Vatican were close to agreement on the situation in Ukraine, after an August 22 meeting with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State.

“We greatly appreciated that this time, we found a mutual understanding on the role that our churches must play concerning the reconciliation of the population in Ukraine,” the Russian patriarch said. He added that churches “cannot play any other role if not one of peacemaking.”

Patriarch Kirill’s statement is particularly significant because the Russian Orthodox Church has frequently blamed the Byzantine-rite Ukrainian Catholic Church for fomenting divisions in Ukraine. Tensions over the role of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, in a country that the Moscow patriarchate regards as its “canonical territory,” have troubled relations between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church for years, since the Catholic Church in Ukraine burst into vigorous activity after the fall of the Communist regime.

Cardinal Parolin spoke with Patriarch Kirill about the expansion of ecumenical ties between Rome and Moscow, which took a dramatic step forward when Pope Francis met with the Russian patriarch in Havana. This year, more than 2.3 million Russians venerated the relics of St. Nicholas, which were displayed in Moscow and St. Petersburg, on loan from the Catholic cathedral of Bari, Italy. Cardinal Parolin remarked that this massive display of faith illustrates the depth of belief that unites the Catholic and Orthodox faithful. “The ecumenism of holiness is real,” he said; “it exists.”

During their talk, held at the Danilovsky monastery, the cardinal and the patriarch also discussed the plight of Christians in the Middle East, agreeing that they should cooperate in providing support for those in need.

 

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Teachings of Christ

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35 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

"Hear, O sons, a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching." (Proverbs 4:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Demons often transform themselves into angels of light and take the form of martyrs, and make it appear to us during sleep that we are in communication with them. Then, when we wake up, they plunge us into unholy joy and conceit. But you can detect their deceit by this very fact. For angles reveal torments, judgments and separations; and when we wake up we find that we are trembling and sad. As soon as we begin to believe the demons in dreams, then they make sport of us when we are awake too. He who believes in dreams is completely inexperienced. 'But he who distrusts all dreams is a wise man. Only believe dreams that warn you of torments and judgments. But if despair afflicts you, then such dreams are also from demons.

St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent