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Source: Pravoslavie.ru THE IMPORTANCE OF FASTING AND ITS OBSERVANCE TODAY Fasting is a divine commandment (Gen 2:16-17). According to Basil the Great, fasting is as old as humanity itself; it was prescribed in paradise (On Fasting, 1, 3. PG 31, 168A). It is a great spiritual endeavor and the foremost expression of the Orthodox ascetic ideal. The Orthodox Church, in strict conformity with the apostolic precepts, the synodal canons, and the patristic tradition as a whole, has always proclaimed the great significance of fasting for our spiritual life and salvation. The annual liturgical cycle reflects the entire patristic teaching on…

Source: Pravoslavie MESSAGE OF THE HOLY AND GREAT COUNCIL OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH To the Orthodox people and to all people of good will To God, “the Father of mercies and all comfort,” we address a hymn of thanksgiving and praise for having enabled us to gather during the week of Pentecost (18-26 June 2016) on Crete, where the Apostle Paul and his disciple Titus preached the Gospel in the early years of the life of the Church. We give thanks to the Triune God who was well pleased that in one accord we should bring to a conclusion the…

Source: Orthodox Church in America ORTHODOX ACADEMY OF CRETE [Multiple Sources]  The Holy and Great Council officially concluded with the Patriarchal concelebration of the Divine Liturgy on June 26, 2016—the Sunday of All Saints—at which His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople presided.  The Council’s concluding session was held one day earlier. According to a release issued by the Press Office of the Holy and Great Council, His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, “expressed his joy for the willing and positive response of the Local Autocephalous Orthodox Churches in attendance.  At the same time, he underlined the immense efforts, over many…

Source: Press Office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate CRETE—On the third day of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Beatitude Patriarch Irinej of Serbia at the Sacred Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of Gonia. Afterward, the hierarchs continued their work in the sixth, seventh, and eighth sessions of the Council. In the sixth session, the hierarchs of the Council continued their discussion on The Orthodox Diaspora; in the seventh session, they focused on Autonomy and the Means by which it is Declared; and in the eighth session, they reviewed The Importance of…

Source: Press Office of the Holy and Great Council CRETE—The official texts of the opening speeches and adresses for the Holy and Great Council are available at https://www.holycouncil.org/documents in their original languages. Translations will be posted as they become available. More than 320 journalists, representing 138 media outlets and 25 countries, have received credentials for the Council. Daily media briefings are broadcast live at approximately 15.30 GMT +3 (8:30 am EDT) at https://www.holycouncil.org/live, and available as video on demand. The Council continues meeting through June 25, concluding with the Divine Liturgy on June 26. On June 25, the Closing Session of…

Source: Press Office of the Holy and Great Council CRETE—On the second day of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, the Divine Liturgy was held at the Sacred Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of Gonia, with His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem presiding from the throne. Afterward, the Hierarchs continued their work in the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sessions of the Council. The Third Session of the Council continued the discussion on The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World, while the Fourth and Fifth Sessions focused on The Orthodox Diaspora. Following extensive discussion, various suggestions and…

Source: Press Office of the Holy and Great Council His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew offered a toast on behalf of the Primates of the Local Orthodox Autocephalous Churches, at a luncheon hosted in their honor by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos.  His All-Holiness thanked the beloved Greek people for their prayerful presence and support of the work of the Holy and Great Council, promising that Orthodoxy shall fulfill her historic duty and responsibility. His All-Holiness added that “Orthodoxy constitutes a real and permanent place of peaceful coexistence and stability in the modern – torn – world, a true source of peace for all the peoples.  The word of the…

Source: Press Office of the Holy and Great Council CRETE—After more than 60 years of planning, the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church convened its opening session on the island of Crete on Monday, June 20, on the Feast of the Holy Spirit. After the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the nearby Monastery of Gonia, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew formally opened the proceedings of the Council. With one voice and one heart, the Hierarchs of the Council chanted the hymn of Pentecost, invoking the descent of the Holy Spirit to transform their work for the benefit…

Source: Press Office of the Holy and Great Council His Beatitude Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, Theodoros, celebrated the Divine Liturgy on 18 June at the Holy Cathedral of the Annunciation in Kissamos. His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and other Primates of the Orthodox Church attended the service in prayer. Today, Saturday of the Souls, the Orthodox Church commemorates the souls of the departed, offering special prayers for all those, now departed, who worked for the realization of the Holy and Great Council.    The Greek government was represented by Panagiotis Kouroumblis, minister of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction, and Ioannis…

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