ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Benedict XVI walked alongside each other amid the sound of church bells after a day of worship, ecumenical dialogue, and fraternal embrace.

In a mutual statement of ecclesiastical solidarity, the two Church leaders renewed their commitment to work towards the restoration of Full Communion between the two Churches.

His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s gift to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was an ancient book of the Gospels (the first four books of the New Testament).

Patriarch Bartholomew said: “Your Holiness, in remembrance of your blessed visit to our Church, expressing to you both our joy and gratitude, we offer to you this Holy Gospel, on the first page of which is inscribed: ‘You are the imitators of Christ’. Let us be therefore imitators of our common Lord and Savior,” said the Patriarch, “praying and working for love, unity and peace to prevail in our Churches and the whole world”.

The Pope's visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate came at the invitation of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians world-wide. It was the first visit of a Pope to the Ecumenical Patriarchate since 1979.

Pope Benedict XVI attended services celebrated by Ecumenical Patriarchal Bartholomew and his Holy Synod in the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George for the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle, the Patron Saint of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

(Note: For more information, please log on to www.patriarchate.org)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Teachings of Christ

“Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 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)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1,2 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