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  1. Catechism of the Catholic Church Paragraph 3. THE CHURCH IS ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC, AND APOSTOLIC 811 "This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic."256 These four characteristics, inseparably linked with each other,257 indicate essential features of the Church and her mission. the Church does not possess them of herself; it is Christ who, through the Holy Spirit, makes his Church one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, and it is he who calls her to realize each of these qualities. 812 Only faith can recognize that the Church possesses these properties from her divine source. But their historical manifestations are signs that also speak clearly to human reason. As the First Vatican Council noted, the "Church herself, with her marvellous propagation, eminent holiness, and inexhaustible fruitfulness in everything good, her catholic unity and invincible stability, is a great and perpetual motive of credibility and an irrefutable witness of her divine mission."258 I. THE CHURCH IS ONE "The sacred mystery of the Church's unity" (UR 2) 813 The Church is one because of her source: "the highest exemplar and source of this mystery is the unity, in the Trinity of Persons, of one God, the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit."259 The Church is one because of her founder: for "the Word made flesh, the prince of peace, reconciled all men to God by the cross, . . . restoring the unity of all in one people and one body."260 The Church is one because of her "soul": "It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and ruling over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of the faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that he is the principle of the Church's unity."261 Unity is of the essence of the Church: What an astonishing mystery! There is one Father of the universe, one Logos of the universe, and also one Holy Spirit, everywhere one and the same; there is also one virgin become mother, and I should like to call her "Church."262 814 From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered together. Among the Church's members, there are different gifts, offices, conditions, and ways of life. "Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions."263 The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity. Yet sin and the burden of its consequences constantly threaten the gift of unity. and so the Apostle has to exhort Christians to "maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."264 815 What are these bonds of unity? Above all, charity "binds everything together in perfect harmony."265 But the unity of the pilgrim Church is also assured by visible bonds of communion: - profession of one faith received from the Apostles; -common celebration of divine worship, especially of the sacraments; - apostolic succession through the sacrament of Holy Orders, maintaining the fraternal concord of God's family.266 816 "The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it.... This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him."267 The Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism explains: "For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God."268 Wounds to unity 817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."269 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270 - do not occur without human sin: Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.271 818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers .... All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272 819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276 Toward unity 820 "Christ bestowed unity on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time."277 Christ always gives his Church the gift of unity, but the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the unity that Christ wills for her. This is why Jesus himself prayed at the hour of his Passion, and does not cease praying to his Father, for the unity of his disciples: "That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, . . . so that the world may know that you have sent me."278 The desire to recover the unity of all Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of the Holy Spirit.279 821 Certain things are required in order to respond adequately to this call: - a permanent renewal of the Church in greater fidelity to her vocation; such renewal is the driving-force of the movement toward unity;280 - conversion of heart as the faithful "try to live holier lives according to the Gospel";281 for it is the unfaithfulness of the members to Christ's gift which causes divisions; - prayer in common, because "change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and merits the name 'spiritual ecumenism;"'282 -fraternal knowledge of each other;283 - ecumenical formation of the faithful and especially of priests;284 - dialogue among theologians and meetings among Christians of the different churches and communities;285 - collaboration among Christians in various areas of service to mankind.286 "Human service" is the idiomatic phrase. 822 Concern for achieving unity "involves the whole Church, faithful and clergy alike."287 But we must realize "that this holy objective - the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ - transcends human powers and gifts." That is why we place all our hope "in the prayer of Christ for the Church, in the love of the Father for us, and in the power of the Holy Spirit."288 II THE CHURCH IS HOLY 823 "The Church . . . is held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy. This is because Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is hailed as 'alone holy,' loved the Church as his Bride, giving himself up for her so as to sanctify her; he joined her to himself as his body and endowed her with the gift of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God."289 The Church, then, is "the holy People of God,"290 and her members are called "saints."291 824 United with Christ, the Church is sanctified by him; through him and with him she becomes sanctifying. "All the activities of the Church are directed, as toward their end, to the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God."292 It is in the Church that "the fullness of the means of salvation"293 has been deposited. It is in her that "by the grace of God we acquire holiness."294 825 "The Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real though imperfect."295 In her members perfect holiness is something yet to be acquired: "Strengthened by so many and such great means of salvation, all the faithful, whatever their condition or state - though each in his own way - are called by the Lord to that perfection of sanctity by which the Father himself is perfect."296 826 Charity is the soul of the holiness to which all are called: it "governs, shapes, and perfects all the means of sanctification."297 If the Church was a body composed of different members, it couldn't lack the noblest of all; it must have a Heart, and a Heart BURNING WITH LOVE. and I realized that this love alone was the true motive force which enabled the other members of the Church to act; if it ceased to function, the Apostles would forget to preach the gospel, the Martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. LOVE, IN FACT, IS THE VOCATION WHICH INCLUDES ALL OTHERS; IT'S A UNIVERSE OF ITS OWN, COMPRISING ALL TIME AND SPACE - IT'S ETERNAL!298 827 "Christ, 'holy, innocent, and undefiled,' knew nothing of sin, but came only to expiate the sins of the people. the Church, however, clasping sinners to her bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal."299 All members of the Church, including her ministers, must acknowledge that they are sinners.300 In everyone, the weeds of sin will still be mixed with the good wheat of the Gospel until the end of time.301 Hence the Church gathers sinners already caught up in Christ's salvation but still on the way to holiness: The Church is therefore holy, though having sinners in her midst, because she herself has no other life but the life of grace. If they live her life, her members are sanctified; if they move away from her life, they fall into sins and disorders that prevent the radiation of her sanctity. This is why she suffers and does penance for those offenses, of which she has the power to free her children through the blood of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit.302 828 By canonizing some of the faithful, i.e., by solemnly pro claiming that they practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God's grace, the Church recognizes the power of the Spirit of holiness within her and sustains the hope of believers by proposing the saints to them as models and intercessors.303 "The saints have always been the source and origin of renewal in the most difficult moments in the Church's history."304 Indeed, "holiness is the hidden source and infallible measure of her apostolic activity and missionary zeal."305 829 "But while in the most Blessed Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle, the faithful still strive to conquer sin and increase in holiness. and so they turn their eyes to Mary":306 in her, the Church is already the "all-holy." III. THE CHURCH IS CATHOLIC What does "catholic" mean? 830 The word "catholic" means "universal," in the sense of "according to the totality" or "in keeping with the whole." the Church is catholic in a double sense: First, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in her. "Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church."307 In her subsists the fullness of Christ's body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him "the fullness of the means of salvation"308 which he has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in apostolic succession. the Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on the day of Pentecost309 and will always be so until the day of the Parousia. 831 Secondly, the Church is catholic because she has been sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race:310 All men are called to belong to the new People of God. This People, therefore, while remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God's will may be fulfilled: he made human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all his children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one.... the character of universality which adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself whereby the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods, under Christ the Head in the unity of his Spirit.311 Each particular Church is "catholic" 832 "The Church of Christ is really present in all legitimately organized local groups of the faithful, which, in so far as they are united to their pastors, are also quite appropriately called Churches in the New Testament.... In them the faithful are gathered together through the preaching of the Gospel of Christ, and the mystery of the Lord's Supper is celebrated.... In these communities, though they may often be small and poor, or existing in the diaspora, Christ is present, through whose power and influence the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is constituted."312 833 The phrase "particular church," which is the diocese (or eparchy), refers to a community of the Christian faithful in communion of faith and sacraments with their bishop ordained in apostolic succession.313 These particular Churches "are constituted after the model of the universal Church; it is in these and formed out of them that the one and unique Catholic Church exists."314 834 Particular Churches are fully catholic through their communion with one of them, the Church of Rome "which presides in charity."315 "For with this church, by reason of its pre-eminence, the whole Church, that is the faithful everywhere, must necessarily be in accord."316 Indeed, "from the incarnate Word's descent to us, all Christian churches everywhere have held and hold the great Church that is here [at Rome] to be their only basis and foundation since, according to the Savior's promise, the gates of hell have never prevailed against her."317 835 "Let us be very careful not to conceive of the universal Church as the simple sum, or . . . the more or less anomalous federation of essentially different particular churches. In the mind of the Lord the Church is universal by vocation and mission, but when she pub down her roots in a variety of cultural, social, and human terrains, she takes on different external expressions and appearances in each part of the world."318 The rich variety of ecclesiastical disciplines, liturgical rites, and theological and spiritual heritages proper to the local churches "unified in a common effort, shows all the more resplendently the catholicity of the undivided Church."319 Who belongs to the Catholic Church? 836 "All men are called to this catholic unity of the People of God.... and to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God's grace to salvation."320 837 "Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who - by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion - are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but 'in body' not 'in heart.'"321 838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist."324 The Church and non-Christians 839 "Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways."325 The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People,326 "the first to hear the Word of God."327 The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews "belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ",328 "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."329 840 and when one considers the future, God's People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus. 841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."330 842 The Church's bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race: All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .331 843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life."332 844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them: Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.333 845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. the Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. the Church is "the world reconciled." She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood.334 "Outside the Church there is no salvation" 846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336 847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church: Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337 848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338 Mission - a requirement of the Church's catholicity 849 The missionary mandate. "Having been divinely sent to the nations that she might be 'the universal sacrament of salvation,' the Church, in obedience to the command of her founder and because it is demanded by her own essential universality, strives to preach the Gospel to all men":339 "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and Lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age."340 850 The origin and purpose of mission. the Lord's missionary mandate is ultimately grounded in the eternal love of the Most Holy Trinity: "The Church on earth is by her nature missionary since, according to the plan of the Father, she has as her origin the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit."341 The ultimate purpose of mission is none other than to make men share in the communion between the Father and the Son in their Spirit of love.342 851 Missionary motivation. It is from God's love for all men that the Church in every age receives both the obligation and the vigor of her missionary dynamism, "for the love of Christ urges us on."343 Indeed, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth";344 that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in God's universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary. 852 Missionary paths. the Holy Spirit is the protagonist, "the principal agent of the whole of the Church's mission."345 It is he who leads the Church on her missionary paths. "This mission continues and, in the course of history, unfolds the mission of Christ, who was sent to evangelize the poor; so the Church, urged on by the Spirit of Christ, must walk the road Christ himself walked, a way of poverty and obedience, of service and self-sacrifice even to death, a death from which he emerged victorious by his resurrection."346 So it is that "the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians."347 853 On her pilgrimage, the Church has also experienced the "discrepancy existing between the message she proclaims and the human weakness of those to whom the Gospel has been entrusted."348 Only by taking the "way of penance and renewal," the "narrow way of the cross," can the People of God extend Christ's reign.349 For "just as Christ carried out the work of redemption in poverty and oppression, so the Church is called to follow the same path if she is to communicate the fruits of salvation to men."350 854 By her very mission, "the Church . . . travels the same journey as all humanity and shares the same earthly lot with the world: she is to be a leaven and, as it were, the soul of human society in its renewal by Christ and transformation into the family of God."351 Missionary endeavor requires patience. It begins with the proclamation of the Gospel to peoples and groups who do not yet believe in Christ,352 continues with the establishment of Christian communities that are "a sign of God's presence in the world,"353 and leads to the foundation of local churches.354 It must involve a process of inculturation if the Gospel is to take flesh in each people's culture.355 There will be times of defeat. "With regard to individuals, groups, and peoples it is only by degrees that [the Church] touches and penetrates them and so receives them into a fullness which is Catholic."356 855 The Church's mission stimulates efforts towards Christian unity.357 Indeed, "divisions among Christians prevent the Church from realizing in practice the fullness of catholicity proper to her in those of her sons who, though joined to her by Baptism, are yet separated from full communion with her. Furthermore, the Church herself finds it more difficult to express in actual life her full catholicity in all its aspects."358 856 The missionary task implies a respectful dialogue with those who do not yet accept the Gospel.359 Believers can profit from this dialogue by learning to appreciate better "those elements of truth and grace which are found among peoples, and which are, as it were, a secret presence of God."360 They proclaim the Good News to those who do not know it, in order to consolidate, complete, and raise up the truth and the goodness that God has distributed among men and nations, and to purify them from error and evil "for the glory of God, the confusion of the demon, and the happiness of man."361 IV. THE CHURCH IS APOSTOLIC 857 The Church is apostolic because she is founded on the apostles, in three ways: - she was and remains built on "the foundation of the Apostles,"362 The witnesses chosen and sent on mission by Christ himself;363 - with the help of the Spirit dwelling in her, the Church keeps and hands on the teaching,364 The "good deposit," the salutary words she has heard from the apostles;365 - she continues to be taught, sanctified, and guided by the apostles until Christ's return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of bishops, "assisted by priests, in union with the successor of Peter, the Church's supreme pastor":366 You are the eternal Shepherd who never leaves his flock untended. Through the apostles you watch over us and protect us always. You made them shepherds of the flock to share in the work of your Son....367 The Apostles' mission 858 Jesus is the Father's Emissary. From the beginning of his ministry, he "called to him those whom he desired; .... and he appointed twelve, whom also he named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach."368 From then on, they would also be his "emissaries" (Greek apostoloi). In them, Christ continues his own mission: "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."369 The apostles' ministry is the continuation of his mission; Jesus said to the Twelve: "he who receives you receives me."370 859 Jesus unites them to the mission he received from the Father. As "the Son can do nothing of his own accord," but receives everything from the Father who sent him, so those whom Jesus sends can do nothing apart from him,371 from whom they received both the mandate for their mission and the power to carry it out. Christ's apostles knew that they were called by God as "ministers of a new covenant," "servants of God," "ambassadors for Christ," "servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God."372 860 In the office of the apostles there is one aspect that cannot be transmitted: to be the chosen witnesses of the Lord's Resurrection and so the foundation stones of the Church. But their office also has a permanent aspect. Christ promised to remain with them always. the divine mission entrusted by Jesus to them "will continue to the end of time, since the Gospel they handed on is the lasting source of all life for the Church. Therefore, . . . the apostles took care to appoint successors."373 The bishops - successors of the apostles 861 "In order that the mission entrusted to them might be continued after their death, [the apostles] consigned, by will and testament, as it were, to their immediate collaborators the duty of completing and consolidating the work they had begun, urging them to tend to the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit had appointed them to shepherd the Church of God. They accordingly designated such men and then made the ruling that likewise on their death other proven men should take over their ministry."374 862 "Just as the office which the Lord confided to Peter alone, as first of the apostles, destined to be transmitted to his successors, is a permanent one, so also endures the office, which the apostles received, of shepherding the Church, a charge destined to be exercised without interruption by the sacred order of bishops."375 Hence the Church teaches that "the bishops have by divine institution taken the place of the apostles as pastors of the Church, in such wise that whoever listens to them is listening to Christ and whoever despises them despises Christ and him who sent Christ."376 The apostolate 863 The whole Church is apostolic, in that she remains, through the successors of St. Peter and the other apostles, in communion of faith and life with her origin: and in that she is "sent out" into the whole world. All members of the Church share in this mission, though in various ways. "The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well." Indeed, we call an apostolate "every activity of the Mystical Body" that aims "to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth."377 864 "Christ, sent by the Father, is the source of the Church's whole apostolate"; thus the fruitfulness of apostolate for ordained ministers as well as for lay people clearly depends on their vital union with Christ.378 In keeping with their vocations, the demands of the times and the various gifts of the Holy Spirit, the apostolate assumes the most varied forms. But charity, drawn from the Eucharist above all, is always "as it were, the soul of the whole apostolate."379 865 The Church is ultimately one, holy, catholic, and apostolic in her deepest and ultimate identity, because it is in her that "the Kingdom of heaven," the "Reign of God,"380 already exists and will be fulfilled at the end of time. the kingdom has come in the person of Christ and grows mysteriously in the hearts of those incorporated into him, until its full eschatological manifestation. Then all those he has redeemed and made "holy and blameless before him in love,"381 will be gathered together as the one People of God, the "Bride of the Lamb,"382 "the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God."383 For "the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb."384 IN BRIEF 866 The Church is one: she acknowledges one Lord, confesses one faith, is born of one Baptism, forms only one Body, is given life by the one Spirit, for the sake of one hope (cf ⇒ Eph 4:3-5), at whose fulfillment all divisions will be overcome. 867 The Church is holy: the Most Holy God is her author; Christ, her bridegroom, gave himself up to make her holy; the Spirit of holiness gives her life. Since she still includes sinners, she is "the sinless one made up of sinners." Her holiness shines in the saints; in Mary she is already all-holy. 868 The Church is catholic: she proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompasses all times. She is "missionary of her very nature" (AG 2). 869 The Church is apostolic. She is built on a lasting foundation: "the twelve apostles of the Lamb" (⇒ Rev 21:14). She is indestructible (cf ⇒ Mt 16:18). She is upheld infallibly in the truth: Christ governs her through Peter and the other apostles, who are present in their successors, the Pope and the college of bishops. 870 "The sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, . . . subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines"(LG 8). Catechism of the Catholic Church - IntraText WWW.VATICAN.VA
  2. TEHRAN – Earlier today, the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran raised the Red Flag of Hussein over the Holy Dome of Jamkaran Mosque, in Qom. The raising of the red flag gives a precise signal – it indicates that a major war is to come or is even now underway. Reports so far indicate that this is the first time Iran has unfurled this flag over the Holy Dome, a flag steeped in religious symbolism relating to Islamic eschatology, the end times, and the specter of total war of epic and religious proportions. This is not a flag of mourning, or of somber remembrance. It is a flag indicating that Iran is mobilizing its entire society towards a conflict never before seen. Bear in mind that this flag was not unfurled even during the Iran-Iraq war. The Red Flag of Hussein raised above the mosque symbolizes the strength of the battle like that of Karbala and the color of the blood that may soon be poured as sacrifice and for justice over the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, who has now become Shahid Soleimani (martyr Soleimani). Yet it reaches far beyond that of Shia martyrs, and speaks of events yet to unfold in short time. The mosque is the considered one of the most significant in Iran, and in recent years has experienced much greater interest particularly from the youth. Iran told the United Nations Security Council and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday that it reserves its right to self-defense under international law after the United States killed Qassem Soleimani, the top commander of the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Iranian U.N. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi wrote in a letter that the killing of Soleimani “by any measure, is an obvious example of State terrorism and, as a criminal act, constitutes a gross violation of the fundamental principles of international law, including, in particular, those stipulated in the Charter of the United Nations.” TOTAL WAR: Iran Unfurls Red Flag of War Over the Holy Dome of Jamkarān Mosque - Fort Russ WWW.FORT-RUSS.COM TEHRAN – Earlier today, the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran raised the Red Flag of Hussein over the Holy Dome of Jamkaran Mosque, in Qom. The raising of the red flag gives a...
  3. The delegation of the newly created church structure on Holy Mount Athos The Protos sent a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece G. Katrougalos with a request take measures so that a visit of schismatics would not happen again. The central executive conciliar body of the Holy Mountain of Athos appealed to the Greek Foreign Minister Georgios Katrougalos with a strong protest in connection with the visit of the OCU delegation to the Holy Mountain, reports the Greek news agency "Romfea". In the letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Holy Kinot recalled the provocative actions of the OCU "Metropolitan" Mikhail Zinkevich and his delegation, who came to Mount Athos with the national flags of Ukraine and chanted their national anthem. "This action of this metropolitan <...> constitutes a violation of article 184 of the Constitution of Mount Athos – "any proselytizing and propagandistic action moral, religious, ecclesiastical, social, nationalist and any other nature such as in the Holy Mountain are strictly prohibited," the Protos noted in the letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Also, Mount Athos emphasizes that "this action is incompatible with the hesychastic, spiritual and sacred character of our Holy Land and its over-thousand-year tradition, creates a dangerous precedent for the repetition of such actions from any aspect of the origin and the transfer of nationalist conflicts therein; is totally contrary to the Charter of the Holy Mountain". Finally, the Holy Community asks the Greek Foreign Ministry to take the necessary measures to prevent such acts in the future so that the character of the Holy Place may remain untouched. We recall that in April 2019, OCU “Metropolitan” Mikhail Zinkevich, together with 10 pilgrims, visited the Xenophon Monastery on Mount Athos, where he “served the liturgy” and also performed the Ukrainian hymn with the pilgrims. From 21 to 23 June 2019, the representatives of the OCU also “concelebrated” at the Xenophon Monastery and “proceeded to the sacrament of the Eucharist in the Pantokrator monastery”. Later, the media reported that on the top of Athos, representatives of the OCU shouted "Glory to Ukraine!" https://spzh.news/en/news/63318-svyashhennyj-kinot-vozmushhen-dejstvijami-klirikov-pcu-na-afone?fbclid=IwAR3GAsJywtLbaj5R6AzBtHx9UJeeShyBHVg5m-D_3mGOjIzUzsHWJwp42qg
  4. With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, Archbishop of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, on April 28, 2019, the ROCOR faithful in Pakistan joyfully participated in the Paschal Divine Liturgy. The congregation was given the chance to prepare themselves during the Holy week. The parishioners participated in the services starting from Palm Sunday; it is the most joyous feasts of the year, as we commemorate the Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem and with full passion and true spirit the Orthodox faithful were taught well by Fr.Joseph Farooq how to follow the holy traditions of the Orthodox Church during the Passion Week. All the main services were well attended, with many parishioners receiving the sacrament of Confession and Holy Communion. This year During the Great Lent Season in the Pastoral visits and Sunday Services Fr. Joseph Farooq preached to the faithful “Holy Traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church.” He helped the congregation for the spiritual preparation for the Holy Pascha. As our congregation victim of social injustice and poverty and deprived of basic human rights, the Russian Orthodox Church in Pakistan has strengthened Orthodox Christians in Pakistan to remain steadfast and strong in their faith in all the circumstances. The Bright Light of the resurrection of Christ fills their heart with hope to move ahead in their tribulation. The Orthodox community in Pakistan wishes to make Pakistan a peaceful and just society through their struggle and constant prayers. The youth of St. Sergius Orthodox parish voluntarily and with full spirit and passion decorated the Church arena with buntings, banners and colorful ribbons. The Paschal Joy, Triumph of life, Christ's Resurrection brings many blessings for the Orthodox Church in Pakistan and throughout the world. http://orthochristian.com/120944.html?fbclid=IwAR0HX2YYZ6rV8z7isw99b5MB1v7wxe9GgTdmWzWv1A4Mu3dAztzMozk_mT8
  5. A delegation from the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation in Russia will travel to Jerusalem for the ceremony of the Holy Fire and then deliver the sacred flame to Russia and a number of other countries, including the United States, the Foundation’s press service told RIA-Novosti. “The delegation of the St. Andrew’s Foundation will deliver the Holy Fire from the Church of the Resurrection of Christ in Jerusalem to Moscow for the Patriarchal Paschal service in Christ the Savior Cathedral. The delegation will be headed by the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the St. Andrew Foundation Vladimir Yakunin and the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church Archbishop Matthew of Egorev, vicar of His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus’. Traditionally, the delegation of the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation will include public and state figures, clergymen, cultural figures, journalists, and businessmen. In all, about 100 people,” the message reads. The Holy Fire will be delivered to various cities throughout Russia from Vnukovo Airport in Moscow. “In addition, it is planned to deliver the Holy Fire to Germany, Latvia, the U.S., and Estonia,” the press service’s message informs. The bringing of the Holy Fire to the Russian Orthodox Church is carried out within the framework of the Foundation’s program “Ask for Peace in Jerusalem.” Also as part of this program, the delegation will read a special prayer for peace in the Holy Land together with His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem. The same prayer is read in the churches of the Russian Church. http://orthochristian.com/120734.html?fbclid=IwAR3l8-BPLb-6oFAOb7-VxSI2PsGJDFsvM7TOCpeSjVkQQPn6WBkYW-T4cBg
  6. Several hundred people were received into the holy Orthodox Church by the Mystery of Baptism in India recently, including 47 Protestant pastors who have been telling their communities about the true faith. A missionary team, consisting of Fr. Athanasius Kone of the Holy Theotokos of Iveron Russian Orthodox Church in Hawaii, Papa Ephraim, formerly of St. Anthony’s Monastery in Arizona and currently of St. Nilus Skete in Alaska, Fr. George Maximov of Moscow, Sister Paraskevi of St. Nilus Skete, and Sister Ioanna and Anastasia from Moscow, spent about two weeks in India, preaching and teaching about holy Orthodoxy and baptizing 350 people into Christ. About 1,000 people had expressed interest in being baptized, but various issues led to only several hundred being baptized during the trip. A detailed description of the entire trip came be found at Papa Ephraim’s Orthodox River blog. Fr. George Maximov has also published a video about the trip, including footage of the Baptisms and Chrismations: As Papa Ephraim explains, a book by Fr. Seraphim Bell, Understanding the Rich Heritage of the Orthodox Church, was translated into the local Telugu language in November, and then Fr. Seraphim was able to visit India for two weeks in December and lead intensive catechetical courses for 60 pastors who then preached to their parishioners about Orthodoxy, and thus many were ready to receive Baptism. Other texts translated or being translated include The Catechism of St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Typica, the Baptismal service, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, 5 small books of Fr. Daniel Sysoev, and elements from The Truth of our Faith by Elder Cleopa. The Baptisms occurred over the span of the two-week trip, some days with groups of 100 people, some days with only 10 or 12. Most of them were celebrated at an old orphanage owned by Fr. Wesley, who has known Fr. Athanasius for several decades and who was responsible for making most of the arrangements for the trip. In addition to celebrating Baptisms, the group also preached and taught about repentance, Tradition, monasticism, icons, Church singing, how to bake prosphora, etc, and they served the Liturgy several times. As Papa Ephraim details, language issues made everything a little chaotic, as did resistance, sometimes fierce and almost violent, from local Hindus and also Catholics. Some of the 1,000 people who had planned to be baptized were deterred by the strong reactions from other Indians, and about 500 of them live in remote villages where a terrorist group has been especially violent lately, taking hostages, often killing them. As Papa Ephraim writes, the demons of course resist the good work that is being done in India, and their presence is greater there due to the millennia of idolatry there, but, with God’s help, hundreds of souls were brought into the saving enclosure of the Church. http://orthochristian.com/119708.html?fbclid=IwAR2dsy7G_iR8FH_5kV2xtlzNahtHn5mF-JEuEWlXYmIYh4P5ZmdAzRjPaog
  7. A special statement on the situation in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was adopted by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church at its session yesterday, reports the press service of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Synod again notes the lamentable situation of increased persecution that has arisen in Ukraine thanks to Constantinople’s interference in Church life there, and calls upon the other Local Orthodox Churches to support their suffering brethren and the Ukrainian authorities to cease its persecutions. The statement reads in full: The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church notes with deep concern the sharp deterioration of the situation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The granting by the Patriarchate of Constantinople of a “tomos of autocephaly” to the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” artificially created by the merger of two schismatic organizations, further strengthened the division between the Orthodox of Ukraine and significantly exacerbated inter-confessional relations. Of particular concern is the gross interference of the state authorities of Ukraine in the internal Church life and attempts by politicians to use the Church in opportunistic interests. At the same time, the fundamental rights and human freedoms enshrined in the Ukrainian constitution are flagrantly trampled upon. Discriminatory laws have been adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and entered into force, the purpose of which is to deprive the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of its name and to legalize the seizure of its churches and monasteries. The faithful of the canonical Church are also stricken in other rights: Its clergy are deprived of the opportunity to meaningfully nourish soldiers, law enforcement officers, and prisoners. It is becomingly increasingly clear that the aim of the representatives of the current state powers is the liquidation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The local authorities and law enforcement agencies were given recommendations to maximally facilitate the transfer of Ukrainian Orthodox Church communities into schism. There are threats of taking the largest monasteries and historical holy sites from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—the Kiev Caves Lavra and the Pochaev Lavra. The majority of cases of churches being taken from their religious communities happen contrary to their decisions to remain in the canonical Church. The decision of the religious community is replaced by the vote of a general assembly of citizens who most often are not members of the parish of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The minutes of such meetings are immediately approved by the authorities, after which the church is seized with the assistance of security forces. This lawlessness has led to a surge of violence against the clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Despite the assurances of the leadership of Ukraine and the Patriarchate of Constantinople about the peaceful character of the so-called “unification of Ukrainian Orthodox,” dozens of churches have been seized by breaking in, with the support of paramilitary groups, often with the beating of priests and the faithful of the canonical Church, trying to defend their holy sites. Dozens of communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are forced to gather for prayer in private homes or on the street. In this difficult situation, we call upon all faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church to strengthen their prayers for their suffering brothers in Ukraine, that they might be granted courage and Christian patience in their stand for holy Orthodoxy. We appeal to the state authorities of Ukraine with a call to cease the persecution against their own citizens who do not want to join the schism. We entreat our fraternal Local Orthodox Churches to prayerfully support the persecuted Ukrainian Orthodox Church, headed by Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. We call upon the global community to be attentive to the blatant facts of the violation of human rights and to give a proper assessment to the gross interference of the Ukrainian state in the affairs of the Church. http://orthochristian.com/119594.html?fbclid=IwAR0xGOfJ1c2xiEy1AdwdFL2vEFeyekljeTxzXJLY-bk5QJqGyQ48qS_iqzY
  8. Two members of an art collective were detained for flinging holy water at the Moscow mausoleum containing Vladimir Lenin's corpse, in an apparent bid to resurrect the revolutionary leader. In video footage of the incident published by news site Grani.ru, artists Oleg Basov and Yevgeny Avilov can be seen emerging from a nearby church and approaching the mausoleum with two bottles of water labeled with crucifixes. Basov and Avilov, members of the art collective Blue Horseman, then managed to bypass a security gate before flinging holy water at the walls of the mausoleum while chanting “Arise and be gone!” Their performance, entitled “The Exorcist: Desecration of the Mausoleum” took place on Monday, when Orthodox Christians celebrated Epiphany — a religious holiday marking the baptism of Jesus. The two men were soon apprehended and taken to a nearby police station, where they were detained overnight, police monitoring site OVD-Info reported. Basov and Avilov now face charges of disorderly conduct, which is punishable by a fine of up to 2,500 rubles ($38) or 15 days in jail. Vladimir Lenin, whose embalmed corpse has been housed in the mausoleum since shortly after his death in 1924 barring a wartime evacuation, was one of the founding fathers of the Bolshevik party. He famously rejected religion as “opium for the masses.” https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2015/01/20/artists-detained-for-attempting-to-resurrect-lenin-with-holy-water-a43035
  9. The Romanian Holy Synod met today under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel for its first session of 2019. Among the agenda items was the ongoing crisis situation in Ukraine. In a January interview, Archbishop Daniel of Pamphylia of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, one of Constantinople’s two Exarchs to Kiev who helped prepare for mid-December’s scandalous “unification council,” predicted that the Greek and Romanian Churches would be the first to recognize and accept, by the end of February, the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” that was created by Constantinople at the “council” and given a tomos of autocephaly on January 6. In his opening remarks, Pat. Daniel spoke about the tension in Ukraine and noted that there are currently 127 parishes in Ukraine with Romanian communities, calling on the Holy Synod to consider their pastoral care, reports the Basilica News Agency. These parishes, mainly in northern Bukovina, are reportedly very troubled by the recent events in Ukraine. The Synod made several points about the Ukraine situation in the official communiqué on the session’s results. The bishops first note that the schisms in Ukraine have persisted for 30 years and that there was not even an appeal for pan-Orthodox mediation, as was done in the case of the schism in Bulgaria. Seeing this impasse, the Ecumenical Patriarchate granted a tomos of autocephaly to the hierarchs, clergy, and laity who were in schism from the Russian Church and the entire Orthodox Church. As the Synod notes, this tomos was accepted only by those Ukrainians not in communion with the Russian Church. It is important to note here that the Romanian Church thus still considered the members of the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” to be schismatics when they received the tomos on January 6, even after they were received by the Patriarchate of Constantinople on October 11. Therefore, ecclesiastical unity has not yet been achieved in Ukraine, “because there is a large population of Russian ethnicity that keeps a direct link with the Moscow Patriarchate,” the Romanian Synod writes. However, the canonical Ukrainian Church under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine remains by far the largest Church in Ukraine, with millions of ethnic Ukrainians also remaining faithful to the Church that is an autonomous body within the Russian Church. The Synod then reiterates the view expressed at it May 24 and October 25 sessions, recommending that the Moscow and Constantinople Patriarchates find a solution to the conflict through dialogue, preserving the unity of the faith, respecting the administrative-pastoral freedom of the clergy and faithful of Ukraine (including the right to autocephaly), and restoring Eucharistic communion. In their October statement, the bishops emphasized that synodality is “a permanent necessity in the life of the Church.” In the event of the failure of bilateral dialogue, then it will be necessary to convene a Synaxis of the primates of the Orthodox Church to solve the problem, the Synod writes. For a concrete decision, priority will be given to the consideration of the 127 Romanian parishes at a future Synod session. It is necessary to consult with these parishes, the bishops state, as they are concerned about preserving their ethnic and linguistic identity. Thus, the Synod writes that it is necessary to obtain written guarantees from the Church authorities that the Romanians’ ethnicity and language will be respected and that they will have the opportunity to organize into a Romanian vicariate and to cultivate their spiritual connection with the Romanian Patriarchate. The statement also mentions that a Ukrainian vicariate has operated in Romania since 1990. The Romanian Church will also request that Constantinople clarify the problem of the non-canonical hierarchs and priests in the West, who belonged to the former “Kiev Patriarchate.” The Holy Synod will express its official position following the above-mentioned consultations. http://orthochristian.com/119511.html?fbclid=IwAR07XvnA1u84ZZAQCU9G3cUTS76OT9aE74H6Vulpcnj5bu9LqGWVaT3U18s
  10. This project is an attempt to reconstruct Serbian medieval monastery complex of Holy Archangels, near Prizren, along with it's defending fortress Višegrad. The monastery was founded by Serbian Emperor Dušan during the period from 1343 to 1352, and it was great cultural center of that time. It’s estate stretched from the Šar Mountains to the Adriatic Sea and included about 100 villages and an iron mine. After the capture of Prizren and its surroundings by the Ottoman Empire in 1455, the monastery was looted and destroyed, but the monastic community survived. At the beginning of the 17th century, a systematic demolition was conducted on the monastery churches as to obtain construction material for Sofi Sinan Pasha's Mosque in the center of Prizren, which was finished in 1615. Restoration of the monastery began in 1995, and in 1998 it became an active male monastery again. In 1999, after NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, and only a few days after arrival of KFOR units, members of the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army burned and looted the restored residence, kidnapping and killing one of the monks. Monastery was again partially restored in 2002, for it’s 650th anniversary celebration and during the 2004 unrest in Kosovo, the monastery complex was again under attack by Albanian extremists. The entire residence was burned and destroyed and the tomb of Emperor Dušan was broken and desecrated. The entire monastery complex is under protection of the Republic of Serbia, as a Monument of Culture of Great Importance, and today in the monastery lives one priest and the monastery is under constant protection of Kosovo Police and in a special protection zone. https://www.behance.net/gallery/21089035/The-Monastery-of-the-Holy-Archangels-Serbia

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