Moscow, August 30, Interfax - Intensifying relations between Moscow and Vatican are dictated by certain troublesome trends in the church world, former Russia's representative to the Holy See Vyacheslav Kostikov believes.

"Despite of Vatican's enormous authority, positions of Christianity in Europe are weakening: though there are about 2 billion Christians in the world (1 billion of them are Catholics), churches are getting empty and closed, while Islam is strengthening its presence and influence in the world (1.5 billion) and in Europe," he writes in his article published on Wednesday in Argumenty i Fakty weekly.

Besides, Kostikov believes "recent statement made by Erdogan negatively impressed Europe as he said that Turkish electorate should defeat those politicians who "oppose Muslims in Berlin." The author is sure that the Turkish Muslim community in Germany is an important destabilizing factor in political and religious life, while Muslim families that have already settled in Europe are much more active in "birth-giving activities" than Europeans.

"In changing conditions relations between Catholics and Orthodox, and especially between Vatican and Moscow focus on protecting shared Christian space rather than on their disputes," Kostikov said.


Teachings of Christ

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’" (John 7:37-38 ESV)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin." (Proverbs 10:10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

No one on this earth can avoid affliction; and although the afflictions which the Lord sends are not great men imagine them beyond their strength and are crushed by them. This is because they will not humble their souls and commit themselves to the will of God. But the Lord Himself guides with His grace those who are given over to God's will, and they bear all things with fortitude for the sake of God Whom they have so loved and with Whom they are glorified for ever. It is impossible to escape tribulation in this world but the man who is giver over to the will of God bears tribulation easily, seeing it but putting his trust in the Lord, and so his tribulations pass.

Archimandrite Sophrony