2014-01-17 L’Osservatore Romano
This year the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18-25 January) is under an especially lucky ecumenical star. The theme of the Week is taken from the first chapter of the First Letter to the Corinthians, in which Paul launches a vehement appeal for unity and poses a question that challenges our consciences: “Has Christ been divided?” (1 Cor 1:13).
Faced with this question, what immediately comes to mind is the tragic situation of divided Christianity, for the rupture that still exists in the Church today should be taken as the division of what by its nature is indivisible, that is, the unity of the Body of Christ.
It is precisely this painful problem that prompted the drafting of the Second Vatican Council's decree on ecumenism, Unitatis redintegratio, whose 50th anniversary we celebrate this year.
The focal point of 2014 is the commemoration of the historic meeting between the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Athenagoras, and the Bishop of Rome, Pope Paul VI, in Jerusalem 50 years ago – on 5 and 6 January 1964. At that time, their mutual intention to re-establish charity between the two Churches was announced and was sealed by the brotherly kiss of the two Church leaders in the name of the brothers Andrew and Peter; this will remain for us the enduring icon of ecumenical openness to reconciliation.
by Kurt Koch
Cardinal-President of The Pontifical Council
for Promoting Christian Unity