Moscow, August 30, Interfax - Intensifying relations between Moscow and Vatican are dictated by certain troublesome trends in the church world, former Russia's representative to the Holy See Vyacheslav Kostikov believes.

"Despite of Vatican's enormous authority, positions of Christianity in Europe are weakening: though there are about 2 billion Christians in the world (1 billion of them are Catholics), churches are getting empty and closed, while Islam is strengthening its presence and influence in the world (1.5 billion) and in Europe," he writes in his article published on Wednesday in Argumenty i Fakty weekly.

Besides, Kostikov believes "recent statement made by Erdogan negatively impressed Europe as he said that Turkish electorate should defeat those politicians who "oppose Muslims in Berlin." The author is sure that the Turkish Muslim community in Germany is an important destabilizing factor in political and religious life, while Muslim families that have already settled in Europe are much more active in "birth-giving activities" than Europeans.

"In changing conditions relations between Catholics and Orthodox, and especially between Vatican and Moscow focus on protecting shared Christian space rather than on their disputes," Kostikov said.


Teachings of Christ

“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 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

"The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing." (Proverbs 9:13 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

What purposelessness, oh the deceit of life; truly in vain does each man vex himself, and truly blessed and thrice-blessed are those who have left everything for the Lord, that they may attain the good things announced in the Gospels. For what profit will it be for a man to enjoy the whole world, but lose his soul, to which the whole universe is not equivalent? All the splendor of man is like the blossom of grass. For the grass departs and the blossom dies, but the word of the Lord abideth for ever.

St. Nicon "Repent Ye"