Moscow (AsiaNews) - A Duma State deputy, Vladimir Sysoev, has advanced a bill to recognize the civil validity of Orthodox religious marriage without the Church itself being consulted on the subject. The astonishing initiative is highlighting the different conceptions about state secularism in Russia, while the Orthodox Church appears more determined in marking differences than politicians.

The representative of the Patriarchate of Moscow, Vakhtang Kipshidze, deputy head of the Department for Relations between the Church and Society, told the Interfax-Religija correspondent in this regard that "this proposal has not been discussed with the Russian Orthodox Church, it was a surprise for us too. " He recalled that the practice of civil registration of religious marriages was normal in the Russian Empire before the Soviet Revolution, when the Orthodox Church was officially a State Church, as is also the case in some European states where there is still this union between the Church and State.

Today, according to Kipshidze, "the return to this practice, under the secular state that we have in Russia, could create a series of complications and confusion in the same civil law on the family. At a minimum, it would require detailed legislation." According to the Patriarchate, the rights and duties of spouses before the law would become even more complicated in the presence or absence of sacramental marriage. Indeed, Sysoev's proposal would distinguish the juridical conditions of orthodox marriage from those of other types of conjugal union.

On the one hand, it highlights the will of some politicians to introduce confessional elements into the life of Russian society. On the other hand, the Church is showing prudence, in order to avoid being overly identified with the more radical nationalist politics and trends. Patriarch Kirill's appeals often emphasize the need to defend the values ​​of the family and the defence of life, even in controversy with contemporary tendencies towards unlimited freedom of coexistence or gender, but he has never suggested the necessity to overthrow current legislation.

Link: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Moscow,-the-proposal-of-the-orthodox-state-marriage--42121.html


Teachings of Christ

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7,8 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, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights." (Proverbs 3:11,12 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The Seraph could not touch the fire's coal with his fingers, but just brought it close to Isaiah's mouth: the Seraph did not hold it, Isaiah did not consume it, but us our Lord has allowed to do both. 

St. Ephraim the Syrian