† B A R T H O L O M E W
By the Mercy of God Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome
and Ecumenical Patriarch
To the Plenitude of the Church
Grace and Peace be with you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
together with our Prayer, Blessing and Forgiveness
Beloved brothers and sisters, children in the Lord,
The holy fathers, who arranged everything in an orderly manner, instituted a period of ascetic discipline and spiritual purification for forty days prior to the great feast of the Lord’s resurrection. This ascetic rule assumes the form of a limitation on foods through fasting, but especially an abstinence from evil. The saintly hymnographer characteristically emphasizes that a genuine and favorable form of fasting for God is the estrangement from wrongdoing, control of the tongue, alienation from anger, separation from evil desires, including gossip, deceit and swearing, restoration of justice, disengagement from passionate thoughts, fervent confession, cleansing of the conscience, “which there can be nothing more difficult,” refraining from “harmful passions, from envy and hatred, indeed from every wickedness,” shunning of “the mind’s perversion,” admission of transgressions. For “the Judge is close, at the door,” and he tries hearts and minds, since “He is everywhere present and fills all things.” (Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete)
On March 15, 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas at his residence in the St. Daniel Monastery.
On Monday, March 4, 2013, a three-day seminar entitled "The Second Period of the Ecumenical Synod" was held at the Theological School of Halki with the participation of approximately 60 clergymen from the Pastoral Education Foundation of the Archdiocese of Athens as well as several participants from Messinia (Greece), Germany and Belgium. Among the speakers were His All-Holiness and Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa, as well as esteemed faculty from theological schools of the Universities in Athens and Thessalonika. Othegvr guests of honor included the President of the EU's Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, Mr. Sergei Popov, who is also an MP of the Russian Douma. Metropolitan Iakovos of the Princes Islands also hosted a reception for the participants.
On March 6, the 400th anniversary of Mikhail Feodorovich Romanov’s enthronement as Tsar, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Dormition in the Moscow Kremlin.
On March 4, 2013 at the Patriarchal and Synodic residence at St. Daniel Monastery in Moscow, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill received Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil ,the administrator of the Department for External-Church Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and Mr. Sergey Levochkin, head of the Russian Presidential Administration.
National Heads of Churches of Australia held its regular semiannual session on 6 March 2013, under the presidency of Bishop Irinej of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand of the Serbian Orthodox Church at the premises of the Cathedral church of Holy Prince Lazar in Alexandria, which is the seat of the Metropolitanate of Australia-New Zealand.