The Blessing of the Waters in Hong Kong and the Tossing of the Cross into the Sea.
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Address by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Synaxis of First-Hierarchs of the Orthodox Churches
We offer glory and praise to our God who is worshipped in the Trinity for rendering us worthy to convene once again in the same place for another Synaxis, as those entrusted by His grace and mercy with the responsibility of leadership for the local autocephalous Orthodox Churches. This is the sixth such consecutive Synaxis since this blessed custom commenced in 1992, shortly after our elevation to the Throne of Constantinople. Like the Psalmist, we too proclaim: “Behold what a good and wonderful thing it is for brothers to dwell in the same place.” Our heart is filled with joy and delight in receiving you and embracing each one of you with sincere love, profound honor and favorable anticipation of our encounter.
At the invitation of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the First-Hierarchs of all the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches will gather from March 6-9, 2014, for a Sacred Synaxis at the Phanar in order to deliberate on matters pertaining to the entire Orthodox Church throughout the world and procedural issues for the convocation of the Holy and Great Council, whose preparation is coming to an end.
The main elements of Great Lent are prayer and fasting. Prayer presupposes faith. Without prayer one is helpless, insecure, blind and alone. Tied to the earth, to matter, one is not aware that they can fly high, to shine in the heavens, to have needed heavenly assistance. They are magnetized, tied, attached to the perishable and earthly. They are not easily detached. They try to acquire treasure on earth. They constantly look for pleasure to cheer them up, instead they get pain out of it. It is sad and pathetic to look for happiness in the mud.
Solomon the Wise assures us: “The horse is prepared for battle, but victory belongs to the LORD.” (Proverbs 21:31). The virtue of the horse is a great example for the spiritual life of every Christian faithful. With Christianity being challenged around the world, Christians must be “brave” in living out their faith.
“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me” or, more briefly, “Lord have mercy” was given to Christians at the time of the apostles and was appointed for them to say without ceasing, as, indeed, they do. But what this “Lord have mercy” means is something that very few people know today and so they say it in everyday speech, pointlessly, alas, and in vain. They don’t receive the Lord’s mercy, because they don’t know what they’re asking.
The Apostle Timothy was a disciple of the Apostle Paul. He was born in Lystra of Lycaonia of a Greek father and Judean mother. Very early on his father departed this temporary life and Saint Timothy grew up with his mother Eunice and his grandmother Loida, who raised him with the pure milk of faith and taught him from his childhood to pray and study the word of God. When the Apostle Paul passed through Lystra he acknowledged the spiritual gifts of the young Timothy and saw him as a worthy missionary worker.
People who hope in God are truly blessed. God is always a help to them and they have no fear of anything that other people might do to them. They hope in God and do what’s right. They have placed all their hope in Him, and they confess Him with all their heart. He is their boast, their God, and they call upon Him day and night. Their mouths send up praise to God, their lips are sweeter than honeycombs, when they open them to sing to God.
In a recent synodal decision, the Church of Russia seems once again to choose its isolation both from theological dialogue with the Catholic Church and from the communion of the Orthodox Churches. Two points are worth noting from the outset, which are indicative of the intent of the Church of Russia’s Synod: