The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM – From Saturday to Sunday, January 23-31, the various Church denominations in Jerusalem gathered to pray for Christian Unity, a week later than the Universal Church. Every evening, one of the Churches of the city welcomed the faithful and other religious leaders to pray together.
The week of prayer opened at the Holy Sepulcher Greek Orthodox by praying the Divine Office for Apodeipnon or Compline, the final official prayer of the day for Greek Orthodox Christians. The prayer week ended on Sunday, January 31, at the Annunciation Greek Catholic Church. This week of prayer in Jerusalem is held one week after the official date to accommodate Armenian Christians’ celebration of Epiphany.
Eight of the sixteen official Churches in Jerusalem welcomed, each evening, a gathering of Christian faithful and religious leaders for a time of prayer, “We have a long history of divisions and hundreds of years of existence side by side, sometimes ignoring the other, sometimes fighting each other, and sometimes chatting. With this ecumenical gesture, we sit together, talking with everyone, praying together and walking together on the path of unity,” said Father Jamal Khader, rector of the seminary of Beit Jala in his homily during the ceremony Latin Patriarchate Wednesday, January 27.
For a week, the Christians of Jerusalem were able to pray together in all the churches of the city, according to the rites of each one: “Today we pray and supplicate, and we will continue to pray throughout the year for unity between us, for the risen Christ to come and heal us by His great mercy. This is the Divine Mercy that we celebrate during the year titled ‘Year of Mercy’” said Bishop Joseph-Jules Zerey, Melkite Archbishop of Jerusalem during the final ceremony which concluded the Week of Prayer.
“That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me,
and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:
that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”
Photos by: Thomas Charrière and Manuella Affejee
Melkite Church of the Annunciation
Ethiopian Orthodox Church
Latin Patriarchate Co-Cathedral
St. Mark’s Syrian Orthodox Church
The Armenian Church
Lutheran Church of the Redeemer