As the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins this year, churches across Europe celebrate the gift of unity through prayer – inspired by the theme “We saw the star in the East, and we came to worship him” (Matthew 2:2) presented by the Middle East Council of Churches.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the world’s largest annual prayer observance, is traditionally celebrated on 18-25 January, between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul, especially in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, where January is a vacation time, churches often find other days to celebrate it, for example around Pentecost, also a symbolic date for unity.
“The theme for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity inspires European churches to share the koinonia in word, prayer and action,” says CEC General Secretary Dr Jørgen Skov Sørensen.
“We are encouraged to serve communities in the way of the Christ. To become a source of transformation in Europe, and to engage widely with increasingly secular societies, we must offer our spiritual treasures. They can be applied to build a just, life-affirming and life-nurturing world.”
“Let us pray that the light of the star in the East lead our steps to Christ. Let Christ's compassionate love lead us to greater visible unity,” he adds.
WPCU message from CEC General Secretary
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been organised by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity of the Roman Catholic Church since 1968.