ISTANBUL, Turkey -- In a momentous gesture of filial love and respect for their respective churches, Pope Benedict XVI and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the first Bishop of the entire Orthodox Church worldwide, signed a significant Common Declaration.

The two Prelates recalled with gratitude their predecessors, Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, as well as Ecumenical Patriarchs Athenagoras and Dimitrios, who lead the path towards the reconciliation (abatement) of the two churches, through their meetings and mutual visits, as well as the lifting of the 11th century anathemas between Rome and Constantinople. They call on (implore) the faithful of both Churches to strengthen their prayers and endeavors towards the unity of the Churches.

The signing of the declaration by the two “peacemakers” and "bridge builders" of Apostolic Christendom in the Throne Room of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is the focal point of Pope Benedict XVI's three-day visit to the primary ecclesiastical center of the Orthodox Christian Church.

The declaration was signed on the occasion of the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle, who traveled across Asia Minor and is the founder of the Christian Church in present-day Istanbul, which later became the first ecclesiastical Throne in the Christian East.

Both hierarchs are noted throughout the world for their efforts to create bridges of truth and love across religious, ethnic, environmental, and political divides. The document is considered a powerful symbol of ecclesiastical solidarity.

The signing of the mutual statement continues a tradition which began in 1964 when Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras met in Jerusalem and later in Istanbul and Rome for the purpose of deepening the renewed relationship between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches.

The three-day meeting between Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Benedict XVI follows a recent meeting of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the two churches last September.

Following the celebration of the Liturgy, the Pope and his entourage sat at the formal luncheon in the headquarters (the Patriarchal House) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

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

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Teachings of Christ

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:16-18 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 praise You in song: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Theophany is a Greek word meaning "manifestation or appearence of God".

Random Proverb

"Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold." (Proverbs 3:13,14 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

We truly love God and keep His commandments if we restrain ourselves from our pleasures. For he who still abandons himself to unlawful desires certainly does not love God, since he contradicts Him in his own intentions. . . Therefore, he loves God truly, whose mind is not conquered by consent to evil delight. For the more one takes pleasure in lower things, the more he is separated from heavenly love.

St. Gregory the Great