Rome - On 24 September 2017, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, began his working visit to Rome.

Meeting Metropolitan Hilarion at the airport in Rome were Bishop Matfei of Bogorodsk, administrator of the Moscow Patriarchate’s parishes in Italy; Mr. Alexander Avdeyev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Vatican; and Rev. Hyacinthe Destivelle, a staff member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

On September 25, at the Vatican, the DECR chairman met with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Metropolitan Hilarion congratulated Pope Benedict on his 90th birthday and conveyed to him warm greetings and wishes from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

During the meeting, the DECR chairman told the Pontiff Emeritus about the meeting between Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis that took place in Havana on 12 February 2016, as well as about various aspects of cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

In reply to Pope Benedict’s question about the revival of faith in the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion told him about the construction of new churches and monasteries, the establishment of theological faculties in secular universities, and the Church’s publishing and educational activities.

Metropolitan Hilarion presented Pope Benedict XVI with the Russian edition of the Pontiff Emeritus’ book entitled “The Theology of Liturgy,” prepared by the Publishing House of the Moscow Patriarchate in cooperation with the St. Gregory the Theologian Charity Foundation. Pope Emeritus warmly thanked the DECR chairman for the gift and expressed his wish that the Orthodox Christians in Russia might find his book in its Russian translation helpful for the better understanding of the Liturgy.

As a birthday present, Metropolitan Hilarion granted to Pope Benedict XVI six volumes of his book “Jesus Christ. Life and Teaching.”

Taking part in the meeting were also Archbishop Georg Gänswein, prefect of the Papal Household; Hieromonk Ioann Kopeykin, vice-rector of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute of Postgraduate Studies; and Rev. Hyacinthe Destivelle of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

DECR Communication Service


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)

Joachiam and Anna Rejoice

Today the bonds of childlessness are loosed, * for God has heard Joachim and Anna * and He promises manifestly that they, against all hope, would give birth to the Maiden of God * from whom the Uncircumscribed One Himself would be born, becoming man, * and he commanded the Angels to cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (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 whole world celebrates * the conception of Anne which was brought about by God, * for she gave birth to the one who, beyond understanding, * gave birth to the Word. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

Holy Forefathers

Through faith, O Christ, you justified the Forefathers, * betrothing through them in advance the Church of the gentiles. * The Saints exult in glory, * for from their seed came forth a glorious fruit: * she who gave birth to You without seed. * Through their prayers, O Christ God, have mercy on us. (Troparion, Tone 2)

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

You did not honor a hand-depicted image, O thrice-blessed ones, * but defended by the undepicted Being you were glorified in a trial by fire. * And, standing in the midst of unbearable flame, you called upon God: * “Hasten, O Compassionate One, and speed to our help, * for You are merciful and You can do whatever you will.” (Kontakion, Tone 6)

(Second Sunday Before Christmas)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (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.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

[The Lord] is always knocking at the doors of our hearts, that we may open to Him, that He may enter in and rest in Our souls, and we may wash and anoint His feet, and He may make His abode with us. The Lord in that passage reproaches the man who did not wash His feet (Luke 7:44); and again He says elsewhere, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man will open unto Me, I shall come in unto him" (Rev. 3:20). To this end He endured to suffer many things, giving His own body unto death, and purchasing us out of bondage, in order that He might come to our soul and make His abode with it.. ..His food and His drink, His clothing and shelter and rest is in our souls. Therefore He is always knocking, desiring to enter into us.. Let us then receive Him, and bring Him within ourselves; because He is our food and our drink and our eternal life, and every soul that has not now received Him within and given Him rest, or rather found rest in Him, has no inheritance in the kingdom of heaven with the saints, and cannot enter into the heavenly city.. But Thou, Lord Jesus Christ, bring us thereunto, glorifying Thy name, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for ever. Amen

St Macarius the Great