JERUSALEM – The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity for the year 2021 in Jerusalem has been postponed, as a result of the COVID-19 imposed restrictions. The annual event, which takes place in January after the Armenian Church’s celebration of Epiphany, will be celebrated at the time of Pentecost in May.
According to Fr. Frans Bouwen, President of the Episcopal Commission for Ecumenical Relations, the ecumenical celebration and meetings among the different Churches in Jerusalem “cannot be replaced by virtual celebrations online.” Therefore, the Churches of Jerusalem will join the Churches of the southern hemisphere in celebrating this event at the time of Pentecost.
Fr. Frans pointed out that plans “to organize one or two virtual celebrations online, with the help of the Christian Media Center” were not possible because of the rise of Coronavirus infections and the new quarantine obligations in Jerusalem.
In light of this decision, Fr. Frans invited all Churches and religious communities to pray for Christian Unity with their members, from January 23- 31, 2021. The invitation could also be extended to all faithful to pray and post unity messages on social media during this week.
The annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated from January 18- 25, in the northern hemisphere and at the time of Pentecost in the southern one. This year, the theme for the Week was chosen by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland and is entitled “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit” (John 15: 1- 17). It expresses the Community’s “vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the church and the human family”.
Please click here to read the booklet of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, prepared and published by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.
By: Saher Kawas
Source: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem