Pope Francis Announces Historic Meeting with Russian Orthodox Church Leader

Revelation 17:5 refers to the Roman Church as the mother of harlots, implying that there are other false churches that are her progeny.  It is only natural for a mother to want to get back together with her daughters.

For the first time ever, a pope will meet with a patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Vatican has announced.

The meeting is aimed at improving ties between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, which broke away in the year 1054.

“The importance of this event is this is the first time the pope meets the patriarch — it is extremely important for ecumenism,” Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said at a news conference Friday.

The Orthodox Church split away nearly 1,000 years ago amid disagreements over liturgy and power-sharing. Over the centuries, the relationship has been full of rancor and distrust.

In 1995, Pope John Paul II called the eastern and western churches the two lungs of Christianity….

The two leaders will meet for nearly two hours before signing a joint declaration at an event hosted by Cuban leader Raul Castro.

The signing, Lombardi said, will signify “a dialogue that can overcome previous obstacles.”

The rift between the churches goes far beyond a battle for converts in Russia. One Vatican expert said it is largely about who would come out on top if they ever reunited. There are 1.2 billion Catholics.

“It’s about who has the bigger hat,” said Robert Mickens, editor in chief of Global Pulse. “The Russians are afraid of being swallowed up.”

Mickens said the Vatican has traditionally viewed itself as superior to the Russian Orthodox Church. But Francis has made friends in Moscow by behaving more like an equal.

Source: Pope Francis announces historic meeting with Russian Orthodox Church leader – LA Times

EU Founding States Pledge Deeper Integration

The Bible prophecies show that there will be a 10 nation bloc making up the final beast power.  Currently the EU has 28 member states —  if the final 10 are to come out of this union then there must be a paring down of the numbers.  As this article shows, the makings of this are already in the works!

The six founding members of the EU have recommitted to building an “ever closer union”, but they have acknowledged differences with other states and for the first time they have backed a “two-speed” Europe.

At informal talks on Tuesday (9 February) in Rome, where the bloc’s founding treaty was signed in 1957, the foreign ministers of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands underscored that for them answers to the EU’s challenges lay in more integration, not less.

In a nod to Britain, they acknowledged that not every country should have to agree.

“We remain resolved to continue the process of creating an ever closer union among the people of Europe.”

London has demanded that the treaty commitment to pursue an “ever closer union” not apply to the UK, as part of British PM David Cameron’s set of proposals to be agreed next week at an EU summit before holding a referendum on its membership of the bloc.

While the “two-speed” EU has already become a reality, with 19 members using the euro and not all members participating in the passport-free Schengen area, officially enshrining the different pace at which member states integrate has been a political taboo for European elites.

The UK’s demands also reinforced the notion that some member states want less from the EU, not more.

London’s request to drop the commitment to political union and boost safeguards for non-eurozone members while reinforcing the single market has found support from eastern member states including Hungary and Poland.

Source: EU founding states pledge deeper integration


A Call for Creation of Eurozone Treasury

While some wait for the EU to fall completely apart, there are those that are confidently moving forward and insuring the long term success of Eurozone and the currency that binds them.

Two of Europe’s most powerful central bankers have called on the eurozone to form its own treasury and push forward with a quantum leap in integration to secure the single currency’s future.

Germany’s Jens Weidmann and France’s newly appointed François Villeroy de Galhau urged member states to move towards a “comprehensive sharing of sovereignty” which would include a common 19-member treasury and an “independent fiscal council” with a eurozone parliament.
More integration appears to be the most straightforward solution to restore confidence in the euro area

The central bankers’ support for powerful new euro institutions go even further than visions for eurozone reform laid out in the EU’s Five President’s Report.

Source: Franco-German central bankers call for creation of eurozone treasury – Telegraph

World’s Banking Woes Mount

Questions are growing over the financial health of banks, particularly in Europe and the U.S., as they face a toxic mix of low economic growth, bad loans and squeezed earnings.

European banks are not the only ones to suffer. Japanese bank Mitsubishi Financial fell 7 percent on Thursday. In the U.S., Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Bank of America are down more than 30 percent so far this year.

Among the top concerns is that the global economy will weaken more than expected, souring some of the loans that banks have issued to companies around the world – particularly in distressed sectors like the energy industry. U.S. banks have tens of billions of exposure to loans made to energy companies, who have found themselves unable to pay back their debts due to low energy prices.

Source: News from The Associated Press

But the sector selloff extended to Europe as well, with German giant Deutsche Bank plunging 9.5 percent and France’s Societe Generale dropping 6.1 percent, respectively.

A slowing economy translates into higher loan defaults, weaker credit quality and lower interest rates, all of which are bad for bank profits, said Jim Sinegal, an analyst of banks and payment companies at Morningstar.

Source: Banking shares plummet on economic slowdown fears – Yahoo News

Russia’s central bank said Monday it had revoked the licenses of two more banks as part of government efforts to consolidate the sector as economic troubles mount.

Russia’s 67th lender by assets, Intercommerz had failed to adequately assess risks despite the poor quality of its assets, the central bank said.

The country’s 186th bank by assets, Alta-Bank had failed to meet its obligations to creditors, the central bank said.

Source: Russia shuts down two more banks – Yahoo News

Russia Warns of ‘New World War’ Starting in Syria

Both Russia and the United States demanded ceasefires in the long-running civil war so that the fight could be concentrated against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) – but each on their own, conflicting terms.

Russia issued a stark warning of the potential consequences. “The Americans and our Arab partners must think well: do they want a permanent war?” its prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev [said]….

“It would be impossible to win such a war quickly, especially in the Arab world, where everybody is fighting against everybody.

“All sides must be compelled to sit at the negotiating table instead of unleashing a new world war.”