CWN - In a letter to Pope Francis on the occasion of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople reflected on the martyrdom of the apostles and the persecution of Christians today.

“The Church, throughout her history, during different epochs and times, has been persecuted; however, the blood of her martyrs was a source of strength in faith and a witness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said in his June 29 letter. “As the Bride of Christ, the Church, is still called to martyria today, as it faces new forms of persecution and oppression.”

The Ecumenical Patriarch, who holds a primacy of honor in Eastern Orthodoxy, continued:

Over the last few years, we have witnessed with great sorrow the attacks targeting Christians and their places of worship. Our sister Churches stand in solidarity with all persecuted and oppressed Christians of our times, and at this very moment, we call to remembrance those who are in mines, in exile, in harsh labor, and those in every kind of affliction, oppression, necessity, or distress.

The Ecumenical Patriarch also expressed the conviction that “our common witness before the numerous challenges of our contemporary world constitutes a positive testimony for the Church of Christ and for bringing us closer to unity.”

 

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Teachings of Christ

'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:53-54 ESV)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (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.

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom." (Proverbs 11:2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Humility is the only thing we need; one can still fall having virtues other than humility -- but with humility one does not fall.

Elder Herman of Mt. Athos