risu.org.ua - Protecting human freedom and dignity is a vital contribution to peace-building by religious communities, said Ecumenical Patriarch His All-Holiness Bartholomew I as he spoke at the Al-Azhar International Peace Conference on 27-28 April in Egypt.

“During the last two decades, humanity has experienced continuous terrorist attacks, which are the cause of death and hurt of thousands of people, and which are becoming the greatest threat and source of fear for contemporary societies,” he said. “Since then, religions have been often suspected or openly accused for inspiring terrorism and violence.”

Religion is a vital factor in the peace process, Bartholomew said. “Religion can, of course, divide by causing intolerance and violence. But this is rather its failure, not its essence, which is the protection of human dignity.”

Interreligious dialogue recognizes the differences of religious traditions and promotes peaceful coexistence and cooperation between people and cultures, he continued. “Interreligious dialogue does not mean to deny one’s own faith, but rather to change one’s mind or attitude towards the other.”


Teachings of Christ

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 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 sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you." (Proverbs 3:28 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