press.vatican.va - 02.06.2018 - The following is the greeting the Holy Father Francis addressed to the delegation from the Patriarchate of Moscow, whom he received in the study of the Paul VI Hall before the general audience on Wednesday 30 May:

Greeting of the Holy Father

Thank you so much for your visit, and also for this meeting, which helps us so much to live our faith in unity and in the hope to walk together. I am happy to take the road of unity with you: the only road that promises us something certain, because the path of division leads us to war and destruction. And before you I would like to reiterate – in a special way before you, my dear brother, and before all of you – that the Catholic Church will never allow an attitude of division to arise from her people. We will never allow ourselves to do this, I do not want it. In Moscow – in Russia – there is only one Patriarchate: yours. We will not have another one. And when some Catholic faithful, be they laypeople, priests or bishops, raise the banner of Uniatism, which does not work anymore, and is over, then it causes me pain. The Churches that are united in Rome must be respected, but Uniatism as a path of unity is not valid today. Instead it brings me comfort when I find this: the extended hand, the fraternal embrace, thinking together, and journeying. Ecumenism is made by journeying. We walk. Some think – but this is not right – that there must first be doctrinal agreement, on all the points of division, and then the journey. This does not work for ecumenism, because we do not know when agreement will come. I once heard a man of the Church, a man of God, who said: “I know which day a doctrinal agreement will be signed”. They asked him: “When?” – “The day after the coming of the glorious Christ”. We must continue to study theology, to clarify the points, but in the meantime let us walk together, let us not wait for these things to be resolved in order to walk, no. We journey together and also do this, but walking in love, in prayer; as in this example of the relics. Prayer together, for each other, in dialogue. This is so good. The meeting with His Holiness Kirill was very good for me, I found a brother. And now, spiritually, we walk together.

And a couple of words to finish. One on the respect of Catholics towards you, Russian Orthodox brothers: the Catholic Church, the Catholic Churches must not get involved in internal matters of the Russian Orthodox Church, nor in political issues. This is my attitude, and the attitude of the Holy See today. And those who meddle do not obey the Holy See. This regards politics. The second thing: piety. It is important that we pray for each other, also in personal prayer. We know new brothers and sisters, and then there is also personal prayer. I would like to say something to you: when we met with the Patriarch, afterwards he sent me a relic of Saint Seraphim. I keep that relic on my nightstand, and at night, before going to bed, and in the morning, when I get up, I venerate it and pray for our unity.

Thank you very much. Let us pray for each other. Let us bless each other. And let us go together. Thank you.


Teachings of Christ

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:16-18 ESV)

Protection of the Mother of God

Protected by your coming, O Mother of God, * the faithful people celebrate today with splendor, * and, gazing at your most pure image, * we say with compunction: * "Shield us with your precious veil * and deliver us from all evil * imploring your Son, Christ our God, to save our souls.” (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 Virgin stands forth in the Church, * and with the choirs of saints she invisibly prays to God for us. * The Angels worship with the hierarchs, * and the apostles exult with the prophets, * because, in our behalf, the Mother of God entreats the pre-eternal God. (Kontakion - Tone 3)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God on October 1st.

Random Proverb

"My son, do not lose sight of these — keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul." (Proverbs 3:21,22a ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Faith and love which are gifts of the Holy Spirit are such great and powerful means that a person who has them can easily, and with joy and consolation, go the way Jesus Christ went. Besides this, the Holy Spirit gives man the power to resist the delusions of the world so that although he makes use of earthly good, yet he uses them as a temporary visitor, without attaching his heart to them. But a man who has not got the Holy Spirit, despite all his learning and prudence, is always more or less a slave and worshipper of the world.

St. Innocent of Irkutsk, Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven.