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

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Dormition

O Mother of God, in giving birth you preserved virginity; * and in falling asleep you did not forsake the world. * You are the Mother of Life and have been transferred to life, * and through your prayers you deliver our souls from death. (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.

Neither the tomb nor death could detain the Mother of God, * who is unsleeping in her prayers and our unfailing hope in her intercession; * for He Who dwelt in her ever-virgin womb, * transferred to Life the Mother of Life. (Kontakion - Tone 2)

Random Proverb

"My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live." (Proverbs 7:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Abbot Macarius was asked: "How should I pray?" The staretz answered: "There is no need to waste time with words; it is enough to hold out your hands and say: 'Lord, have mercy.'  If you are hard pressed in the struggle, say: 'Lord, save me!' He knows what is best for you, and he will have mercy on you."

Abbot Macarius, quoted in St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality, Meyendorff, 1974, SVS Press