"We will all be changed by the victory of Our Lord Jesus Christ": Week of prayer for Christian unity in Jerusalem | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

"We will all be changed by the victory of Our Lord Jesus Christ": Week of prayer for Christian unity in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, 21st - 29th January 2012

Next Saturday, 21st January, the celebrations for the Week of prayer for Christian unity will begin in Jerusalem, which this year will have as its theme "We will all be changed by the victory of Our Lord Jesus Christ", and will continue until 29th January, with the participation of all the Christian confessions in the Holy City. Every day, the common liturgy will be hosted by one of the cathedrals of the different communities, all leading actors in and committed to the shared effort and desire to discover and better understand the roots and essential values of faith in Christ. The Latin Patriarch, H.B. Mons. Fouad Twal, in his message for Christmas 2011, referring to the tenth assembly of the Middle East Council of Churches, held in Cyprus last November, underlined the “goodwill of the four Christian families – Catholics, Protestants, Oriental Orthodox and Orthodox – for deeper collaboration and commitment for unity." Mons. Twal also confirmed the intention, on the invitation of the Synod for the Middle East, "to unify the date of Easter, driven by the desire for Our Lord and the unanimous willingness of the Christian people of the Holy Land."

It is a concrete and shared gesture that is part of a consolidated tradition on a path that progresses at the pace typical of this land. "They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers." (Acts 2,42), we can read in the Acts of the Apostles about the life of the first Christian community. The material for this year’s prayer and reflection has been prepared by the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and the old Catholic and Protestant Churches active in Poland. The aim of the effort is precisely to invoke the power of the love of Jesus to change, which can truly take the Church back to the authenticity of its origins, to the rediscovery of its vocation for unity, as a visible manifestation of the body of Christ. This is the extraordinary “victory” of Our Lord Jesus who, in the face of the passion that awaited him, accepted all suffering, praying that His disciples would draw strength from that to live in unity and so that, through their testimony of authentic Christian life, the world could find faith and salvation.

Once again the Mother Church of Jerusalem, with the voice of her many traditions on the path of unity, invites us to unite in prayer so that we can truly live as St. Paul urges us, "reconciled with God through Christ" (2 Corinthians 5,18) and as depositories of the ministry of reconciliation, in intimate communion with God and joyously open to others. This also means a profound change, first of all in the souls of each and every one of us and then of the social and ecclesiastical traditions we are familiar with, to truly be a gift to one another and thus rediscover the one and only way of following the life of Christ, His love and His friendship which have defeated sin and death forever.

By Caterina Foppa Pedretti


Saturday, Jan. 21 : Anastasis (Holy Sepulchre), Calvary 5.30 p.m., Greek Orthodox Office of “Apodeipnon”(Compline)

Sunday, Jan. 22 : Anglican Cathedral of St George, 5.00 p.m., Nablus Road

Monday, Jan. 23 : Armenian Cathedral of St James, 5.00 p.m., Old City, Armenian Quarter

Tuesday, Jan. 24 : Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 5.00 p.m., Old City, near Holy Sepulchre

Wednesday, Jan. 25 : Latin Patriarchate’s Church, 5.00 p.m., Old City, from Jaffa Gate

Thursday, Jan. 26 : Upper Room, Cenacle, 4.00 p.m., Mount Zion

Friday, Jan. 27 : Ethiopian Orthodox Church, 5.00 p.m., West Jerusalem, off Prophets’ Street

Saturday, Jan. 28 : St Anthony’s Church, Coptic Orthodox, 5.00 p.m., Old City, near Holy Sepulchre

Sunday, Jan. 29 : Greek Catholic Church of Annunciation, 5.00 p.m., Old City, near Jaffa Gate