CWN - The Moscow Patriarchate’s chief ecumenical officer praised a non-sectarian class in religions in Russia’s schools and called for the course’s extension beyond fourth grade.

“If our children do not know religious teachings, they can involuntarily become an easy prey for terrorists,” Metropolitan Hilarion, the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations, said in an interview with Ekaterina Gracheva of the television station Russia-24.

“We must always remember that terrorism cannot be motivated by religion,” he continued, though “there are people who cover their criminal acts with religious rhetoric.”

After stating that Orthodox children should learn about Islam, and Muslim children should learn about Orthodoxy, the prelate criticized the “anti-religious ideology which is always gaining more ground in the West,” where “the revolution of man against God is in substance propagated and encouraged” in “a variety of modes and images.”

First, said Metropolitan Hilarion, comes the rejection of God, or the idea that one can choose or not choose to believe in God; then comes the idea that one can choose one’s gender, rather than accepting one’s God-given sex as male or female.

 
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Teachings of Christ

“Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 ESV)

Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (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.

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

“We firmly believe that the Church will never fall, will never waiver and will not be destroyed. For this is what Christ taught, by Whom the heavens were established and the earth was founded, and stands firmly as the Holy Spirit says”. (Ps. 32:6) The Antichrist will lure to himself “those who have a weak and feeble mind, will seduce and will tear them away from the living God.”

St. John of Damascus, Oration on the Transfiguration of the Lord