Pope Francis in the Holy Land
24-26 May 2014

On Friday 23 May, Patriarch Gregorios III of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem, left Beirut bound for the Jordanian capital, Amman, in readiness to welcome, with other Eastern patriarchs, Pope Francis, who is making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (24 - 26 May).

The Holy Father’s pilgrimage, coming fifty years after that of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, is “fraught with expectation and hope,” according to Gregorios III.

Expectation and hope for every one of the region’s countries beset by internal and regional conflicts, in the eye of a tornado of wars and violence, stemming from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has given rise to all the others and remains a continuing source of instability and liability in the region.

 

Expectation and hope for the return of peace to Syria, which is and will remain central to the Holy Father’s prayer, whose considerable power was evidenced last 7 September.

Expectation and hope for Church unity: from 1964 to 2014 great advances have been made whose origins can be traced back to the meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras.

Let us pray with Pope Francis throughout his pilgrimage to the Holy Land for violence and weapons to yield to dialogue and the beginning of a peaceful solution. And with Pope Francis let us say, “Let us never lose the courage of prayer.”

“Fifty years on, we are placing all our expectation and hope on this joint pilgrimage of Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. With all the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs gathering in Amman around the Holy Father, we shall make a request for there be just one date for Pascha, and that Pope Francis fix Easter day to a Sunday in the latter half of April. “

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Teachings of Christ

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

Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple

Today is the prelude of the goodwill of God * and the heralding of the salvation of mankind; * the Virgin appears clearly in the temple of God * and foretells Christ to all. * Let us also with a mighty voice cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator’s divine plan.” (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.

The most pure Temple of the Savior, * the most precious Bridal-Chamber and Virgin, the sacred Treasury of the glory of God, * is brought today into the house of the Lord, * bringing with her the grace that is in the Divine Spirit. * The angels of God praise her in song: * “She is the heavenly tabernacle.” (Kontakion - Tone 4)

(November 21st)

Random Proverb

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Even a pious person is not immune to spiritual sickness if he does not have a wise guide -- either a living person or a spiritual writer. This sickness is called _prelest_, or spiritual delusion, imagining oneself to be near to God and to the realm of the divine and supernatural. Even zealous ascetics in monasteries are sometimes subject to this delusion, but of course, laymen who are zealous in external struggles (podvigi) undergo it much more frequently. Surpassing their acquaintances in struggles of prayer and fasting, they imagine that they are seers of divine visions, or at least of dreams inspired by grace. In every event of their lives, they see special intentional directions from God or their guardian angel. And then they start imagining that they are God's elect, and often try to foretell the future. The Holy Fathers armed themselves against nothing so fiercely as against this sickness -- prelest.

Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky