vatican.va - The following is the Message sent by the Holy Father Francis on the occasion of the opening of the 25th International Ecumenical Conference on Orthodox Spirituality, organised by the Monastic Community of Bose in collaboration with the Orthodox Churches (6-9 September 2017, Monastery of Bose):

Message of the Holy Father

To Brother Enzo Bianchi
Monastery of Bose

On the occasion of the opening of the 25th International Ecumenical Conference of Orthodox Spirituality, I wish to address to you, organisers and participants, my cordial greeting. In particular, I would like to convey a warm embrace of peace to His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, dearest Brother Bartholomew, and to His Beatitude Theodoros, Patriarch of Alexandria: your important presence honours the twenty-five years of the Conference that the Monastery of Bose organises in collaboration with the Orthodox Churches and confirms its contribution to the common path towards full unity.

This year’s theme, “the gift of hospitality”, is evocative and timely. It is true that hospitality is a gift, a gift we have first received: we are guests in a world created for us and which must be protected, but we are also transient here, strangers on earth, because we are guests invited and awaited in heaven, where we have our citizenship (cf. Phil. 3: 20).

In the meantime, as itinerant disciples, we are called to focus on what does not wane, on the charity that will never end (cf. Cor. 13: 8), to accept each other as gifts from the Lord, to promote mutual care and affection, to “have compassion, to take part in the pain of those who suffer, to consider as one’s own ill the misfortunes of others” (N. Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, VI, 8). I hope that this calling is rekindled by the humble and sincere listening and reflections of these days, so fraternal sentiments may grow, and an authentic “hospitality of the heart” mature, so as we journey in pilgrimage together towards the Kingdom, we are inspired to take more courageous and concrete steps towards full communion.

With these sentiments I invoke upon you and upon the works of the Conference the abundance of the gifts of the Spirit, while asking you to keep a place for me in your prayers.

From the Vatican, 18 August 2017.


Teachings of Christ

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 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

"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest." (Proverbs 6:6-8 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The work of prayer belongs to the angels, and is, therefore, the special concern of the Church. Every other work, i.e., charity, nursing the brethren, visiting the sick, caring for prisoners, releasing captives, and other similar things, is done by the brethren in love and offered by them to God. Similarly, poverty, fasting, sleeping on the ground, prostrations, vigils, etc., are good and like a sacrifice to God, because they aim to subdue and humble the body so that we may be purified and approach God and become friends of God -- yet these things do not present us directly to God, whereas prayer does so and unites us with Him. A person praying acts towards God like a friend -- conversing, confiding, requesting -- and through this becomes one with our Maker Himself.

St. Symeon of Thessalonica