CWN - Members of the Russian Catholic Church—one of the smaller Byzantine-rite churches in communion with Rome—fear that they may be forgotten by Vatican officials anxious to improve relations with the Russian Orthodox Church, reports Francis X. Rocca of the Wall Street Journal: Leaders of the Russian Byzantine Catholic Church, with fewer than 30,000 members world-wide, are meeting in Italy this week in their first such synod in a century.

The Russian Catholics have asked Pope Francis for reassurances, and appealed to the Vatican for help in strengthening their community—which has only about 30,000 members. To date they have not received a reply, and an official of the Vatican’s Congregation for Eastern Churches declined to comment for the Wall Street Journal story.

The Orthodox Church dominates religious life in Russia, and the Catholic minority is composed mainly of Latin-rite Catholics. But the Orthodox Church has been extremely sensitive about the existence of Eastern churches in union with Rome, and Vatican support for the Russian Catholic Church would undoubtedly provoke a negative reaction from the Moscow Patriarchate.

The Russian Orthodox Church has frequently complained about the activities of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which is by far the largest of the Eastern Catholic churches. The Moscow patriarchate argues that the Ukrainian Catholic Church is interfering in the “canonical territory” of the Russian Orthodox.

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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)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

When the holy Abba Anthony lived in the desert he was beset by boredom, and attacked by many sinful thoughts. He said to God, 'Lord, I want to be saved but these thoughts do not leave me alone; what shall I do in my affliction? How can I be saved?'

A short while afterwards, when he got up to go out, Anthony saw a man like himself sitting at his work, getting up from his work to pray, then sitting down and plaiting a rope, then getting up again to pray. It was an angel of the Lord sent to correct and reassure him: 'Do this and you will be saved.' At these words, Anthony was filled with joy and courage. He did this, and he was saved.


The Desert Fathers