CWN - Pope Francis visited the Pontifical Oriental Institute on October 12, for a celebration of the 100th anniversary of its founding.

The Pope met with students, faculty, and staff of the Oriental Institute, then proceeded to the basilica of St. Mary Major (which is just across a piazza from the Institute), where he presided at a Mass of thanksiving. In his homily the Holy Father recalled that the Institute was established by Pope Benedict XV at a time when World War I was shaking Europe. He praised the achievements of the Institute in encouraging greater understanding of the traditions of Eastern Christianity.

In a message to Cardinal Leonardo Sandri—who is the chancellor of the Oriental Institute as well as the prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches—the Pope urged all teachers to “remain open to the Oriental churches, considered not only in terms of their ancient configuration, but also in their current diffusion and at times troubled geographical spread.” He said that the Oriental Institute still has “an ecumencial mission to pursue,” seeking full communion with all of the Eastern churches.

“On the other hand,” the Pope continued, “the task of the Institute is also to make know the treasures of the rich traditions of the Oriental churches to the Western world.” He continued:

With the collapse of the totalitarian regimes and of various dictatorships, which in some countries has unfortunately created conditions favourable to the spread of international terrorism, the Christians of the Oriental churches are experiencing the tragedy of persecutions and an increasingly worrying diaspora. We cannot close our eyes to these situations.

The Pope said that Catholic bishops of the Latin-rite dioceses around the world should be aware of the pastoral needs of “the geographically dislocated oriental faithful without their own hierarchy.”

 
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Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9 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

"My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live." (Proverbs 7:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

For Christians above all men are forbidden to correct the stumblings of sinners by force...it is necessary to make a man better not by force but by persuasion. We neither have autority granted us by law to restrain sinners, nor, if it were, should we know how to use it, since God gives the crown to those who are kept from evil, not by force, but by choice.

St. John Chrysostom