Prayer and love – for the unity of Churches
HOLY LAND – In Jerusalem, a prayer for the unity of Christian gathers every evening hundreds of faithful. Traditionally, every night, they meet to pray in a different church. In Gethsemani on 28 January, the Week of Prayer for the Unity gave rise to a particularly moving celebration.
On Wednesday 28 January 2015 the prayer for the unity of Christians in Jerusalem took place in the Basilica of Gethsemani. A place that invites to prayer. The golden mosaics of the ceiling and the stone on which Christ prayed before shedding his life for the salvation of mankind, were the site of meeting between different churches of the Holy City. A gathering of prayers under the theme of unity.
Fr Custos, Fr Pizzaballa, evoking the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemani, said in his homily: “Prayer is the Christian way to stay in struggling, by means of which struggling rises to a relationship with God, namely that Gods unites with our own struggling. Prayer is already a victory, for it is already a sign of trust, of self-denial, of opening on to others”.
Each Christian community, regardless of the church it belongs to, has as a vocation to serve as witness of love and brotherhood. “The suffering of all our communities, without distinction, we share it in what was called “ecumenism of blood”. The Lord wants, Fr Custos further said, that this ecumenism be impregnated not only with blood, but mainly with our ability to give ourselves up to one another, freely, as our Saviour has taught us”
Together with Latin Patriarch, H.B. Mgr Fouad Twal and his vicar in Jerusalem Mgr W. Shomali attended the celebration held by leaders and dignitaries of other Churches of Jerusalem. Before the concluding blessing, they distributed among the faithful fronds of olive trees picked from the holy garden of Gethsemani, as well as a little flask of holy oil.
All worshippers l so ardently participated, some while reading a prayer, others while singing, or simply by praying. It was indeed a well-orchestrated ceremony with brio by the Franciscan Fathers who led the prayers.
The event could be followed live on TV channels, thanks to the work of the Christian Media Center. The celebration coincided with the 12th extraordinary prayer of all churches of Jerusalem for reconciliation, unity and peace.
On other days of the week, prayer for unity took place on Calvary, at the Holy Sepulchre, at the Anglican Cathedral of St George, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, at the Cenacle, at the Syrian Orthodox Church of St Mark, at the Greek Catholic Church of the Annunciation. Below is our photo coverage of the celebration.
Article & photos: Andres Bergamini