CWN - A leading official of the Russian Orthodox Church offered criticisms of the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church, which will take place in Crete in June.

The comments made by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, are significant because the Russian Orthodox Church is the largest of the 15 autocephalous churches within Eastern Orthodoxy.

Metropolitan Hilarion made clear that the synod is not an ecumenical council and criticized its draft documents.

“We would have liked to improve their wording,” he told a conference at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University in Moscow on April 19. “Believe me, we have exerted a lot of efforts to make the documents better than they were, but many our amendments have not been adopted.”

Turning to synodal procedure, Metropolitan Hilarion said:

We have proposed from the very beginning of preparation to convene all bishops … However, we were told that it was impossible to bring so many bishops together and let it be the fixed number from each church … It means that certain churches will be represented by all their bishops, but our church, which has over 350 bishops, will be represented by a small quantity.

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Teachings of Christ

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37 ESV)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Saints and Martyrs

Adorned with the blood of Your Martyrs throughout the world, * as with purple and fine linen, * Your Church cries out to You through them: * "Send down Your compassions upon Your people. * Grant peace to Your commonwealth and great mercy to our souls." (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.

As the first-fruits of nature to the Planter of Creation, * the whole world offers to You, O Lord, the God-bearing martyrs. * Through their prayers and the intercession of the Mother of God * preserve Your commonwealth, the Church, in profound peace, O Most Merciful One. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest." (Proverbs 6:6-8 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The Seraph could not touch the fire's coal with his fingers, but just brought it close to Isaiah's mouth: the Seraph did not hold it, Isaiah did not consume it, but us our Lord has allowed to do both. 

St. Ephraim the Syrian