CWN - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, paid tribute to his predecessor, Patriarch Sergius I, who governed the Church from 1925 to 1944.

Ninety years ago, Patriarch Sergius controversially declared his “absolute loyalty” to the Communist regime in an attempt to ensure the Church’s survival.

“Metropolitan Sergius took that step without violating by any means either the dogmata or canons,” his current successor said. “His did it to create prerequisites for possible development of relations with the state and for consolidating the situation of the Church in the then Soviet Union.”

Nonetheless, the Church entered “an epoch of terrible persecution” under Stalin, said Patriarch Kirill.

“It is the gravest page of our national history, the hardest page in the history of the Church,” he added, as he paid tribute to the “new martyrs and confessors, who remained faithful to Christ, did not waver in their faith and did not reject God and the Church.”

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Teachings of Christ

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 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

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9,10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

He who suffers wrong and does not demand any reparation from the man who wronged him, trusts in Christ to make good the loss; and he is rewarded a hundredfold in this world and inherits eternal life (cf. Mk 10:30).

Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779