Moscow, Mar. 5, 2007 (CWNews.com) - The chief ecumenical-affairs officer for the Russian Orthodox Church has remarked on a positive trend in relations between Moscow and Rome.

Speaking to the Interfax news service, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk said that “positive changes” in dealings with the Vatican had occurred during the pontificate of Benedict XVI.

One significant source of improvement in relations, the Russian prelate said, came from the fact that Pope Benedict had “removed a Moscow visit from the agenda, as he understood that such a visit would be premature.” Pope John Paul II (bio - news) had frequently expressed his desire to make a visit to Moscow.

Under Pope Benedict, said Metropolitan Kirill, the Holy See has concentrated on “cooperation between the Catholic Church and ours in defending Christian values,” particularly in calling for a moral renewal in Europe. The Russian Orthodox Church can fully endorse those plans, he said, without necessarily resolving other questions on which Moscow and Rome remain at odds.

Differences do remain, Kirill told Interfax, including some “major ones.” He complained that Catholics and Orthodox remain in conflict in the western Ukraine, for example. “Not everything goes easy,” the Russian spokesman concluded.


Teachings of Christ

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 ESV)

Lamb and Redeemer

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 praise You in song: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge." (Proverbs 5:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The "principal characteristics" of the zealot according to knowledge are the following: "fervent love for God and neighbor, gentleness, religious tolerance, forbearance, graciousness of manner."