Moscow - cwnews.com - 20081209 -  Russia's political leaders joined prelates of the Orthodox Church on December 9 at the funeral of Patriarch Alexei II. The deceased Patriarch's success in restoring the prominence of the Russian Orthodox Church after decades of Soviet repression was confirmed by the presence of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at his funeral in Christ the Savior cathedral. Medvedev had ordered regular television programming suspended during the funeral and the burial service at Epiphany cathedral.

Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the chief ecumenical official of the Moscow patriarchate, presided at the funeral. On December 6 the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church had elected Metropolitan Kirill as the "patriarchal locum tenens," or interim head of the Church following the death of Patriarch Alexei II the previous day. At least six months must pass between the death of a patriarch and the election of his successor. Since 1989, Metropolitan Kirill has served as the Russian Orthodox representative in ecumenical dialogues as chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate. He recently wrote a foreword to a book by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state.

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Teachings of Christ

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 ESV)

Theophany

At Your baptism 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 truth 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)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (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.

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9,10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

"God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts. Hence, if we feel in our hearts the cold which comes from the evil - for the devil is cold - let us call on the Lord. He will come to warm our hearts with perfect love, not only for Him but also for our neighbor, and the cold of him who hates the good will flee before the heat of His countenance."

St. Seraphim of Sarov