“The love of Christ impels us towards reconciliation”Theme of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2017
In communion with the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and with the World Council of Churches Commission on Faith and Order, the 13 Christian communities of the Holy Land met for the shared celebrations. An extraordinary opportunity to meet in Jerusalem, the only city that brings together as many Christians of different denominations in a small space.
Fr. STÉPHANE MILOVITCH, ofm
Custody of the Holy Land
“Here, in the Holy Land, we are fortunate to have nearly all of the world churches present in Jerusalem, in the place where the Church was born: we all have the desire to praise the Lord, we are all children of the same God, and therefore it is essential to manifest from time to time, in an ecumenical celebration, that we are children of the same father.”
The week has been enriched by the diversity of rites.
The first meeting was held Saturday, January 21, in the Chapel of Calvary, inside the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher. All Christians joined the Greek Orthodox monks in the office of the Apodeipnon, the Compline Liturgy of the Hours.
From the Calvary, the site of the crucifixion and death of Jesus, to the Anglican Cathedral of St. George, and later to the Armenian Cathedral of St. James. All united in the worship of the same, one God.
H.E. SUHEIL SALMAN DAWANI
Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem
“I feel very grateful tonight, because all the churches are here in Jerusalem to worship God and to express our unity in Jesus Christ as one body.”
In the Armenian cathedral, the prayer meeting was held in a very suggestive atmosphere, thanks to various details, including the light of candles.
Fr. EMMANUEL ATAJANIAN
Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem
“As the priest said in his message today, unity does not mean that we should have our headquarters or a patriarch. Jesus brought us together in Heaven and He is the King, the King of Heaven, the ‘Supreme Patriarch’. We need to reflect on how we should love one another, on how to live Christianity, instead of talking about Christ.”
H.E. JOSEPH JULES ZEREY
Melkite Greek-Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate – Jerusalem
“For over 50 years we have prayed for unity of the churches, especially at this particular time, at the end of the Feast of the Epiphany, which the Eastern Churches just celebrated. We believe that these prayers that we started on January 21 are essential and vital to our Christian faith. In the fifth century, the churches were divided (schism), but today the same churches opened their doors to pray for unity and there is no doubt: every church has its own rite but we are one in the same, when it comes to faith.”