Deisis (Novogorod)

Communique on Eastern Europe

Joint Committee of Orthodox and Catholic Bishops

The members of the Joint Committee of Orthodox and Roman Catholic bishops gathered for their eleventh meeting, September 30 - October 2, 1992, in Tenafly, New Jersey. They reaffirmed their commitment to these annual dialogues and their conviction that through dialogue, mutual understanding, good will and trust, they are following the teachings of the Lord. The theological dialogue at all levels is under severe strain because of recent events in eastern Europe. The Roman Catholic bishops listened with concern as the Orthodox bishops expressed their deepest reservations with the recent letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion." In their view, the letter is a sign that the Roman Catholic Church is changing its mind in regard to basic presuppositions upon which the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church meet as equal churches, manifesting the fullness of catholicity of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

As the bishop members of this dialogue committee study the history of the relationship between the two churches since the schism, they recognize that iniquities have been perpetrated by both churches (for example, the problems associated with Brest and Lviv). In this context it is important to study the recent developments in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Having recognized that transgressions and deceptions have been committed, leaders and faithful of both churches must repent and express mutual forgiveness. In this spirit, the example of Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI, whose vision continues to inspire Catholics and Orthodox alike, must not be surrendered.

With the arrival of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia in the United States, the bishops turned their thoughts to the tragic events occurring in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. They condemn the past and present manipulation of religion for advancing geopolitical and ethnic interests, which have rekindled so many deep prejudices and enmities. The bishops appealed to all in the United States to pray for the reconciliation of the peoples of that troubled region. As winter approaches, thousands of lives are endangered. The bishops expressed their support for urgent humanitarian effort in meeting the needs of all who suffer there. The applauded the actions of Orthodox and Catholic leaders, and other religious leaders, toward terminating the terrible carnage taking place in these areas.

Tenafly, New Jersey
October 2, 1992


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)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Annunciation

Today is the fountainhead of our salvation, * and the revelation of an eternal mystery: * The Son of God becomes the Son of a Virgin, * and Gabriel announces the good news of grace. * Therefore, let us also cry with him to the Mother of God: * "Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

To you, O Mother of God, our leader and defender, * we, your servants, delivered from calamity, offer hymns of victory and thanksgiving. * So you, who have invincible might, * set us free from every peril * that we may cry to you: * "Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!" (Kontakion, Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights." (Proverbs 3:11,12 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The soul has followed Moses and the cloud, both of these serving as guides for those who would advance in virtue; Moses here represents the commandments of the Law; and the cloud that leads the way, its spiritual meaning. The soul has been purified by crossing the Sea; it has removed from itself and destroyed the enemy army. It has tasted of the waters of Marah, that is, of life deprived of all sinful pleasure; and this at first had seemed bitter and unpleasant to the taste but offered a sensation of sweetness to those who accepted the wood. Next it enjoyed the beauty of the palm trees of the gospel and the springs; it filled itself with the living water, that is, the rock. It took within itself the bread of heaven. It overwhelmed the foreign host - a victory due to the extended arms of the Lawgiver, which thus foreshadowed the mystery of the Cross. Only then can the soul go on to the contemplation of transcendent Being.

St. Gregory of Nyssa