Christians in Jerusalem Praying for Unity

JERUSALEM, JAN. 22, 2001 (

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Amid the strife of the Mideast, the Week of Prayer for the Unity of Christians has began in Jerusalem.

The octave began Sunday, due to the fact that the Armenian Christmas was celebrated Jan. 19. The Armenians must end their celebrations before joining other Christians in common prayer.

The calendar of the week of celebrations began in St. George´s Anglican Cathedral, and will end in the Catholic Greek-Melkite Church of the Annunciation.

The central point of the week is the common prayer in the Cenacle on Thursday, when the prayers and readings from the Old and New Testaments, as well as the hymns, will be expressions of all the rites. The Benedictine Fathers of Maria Hagia Sion Abbey is overseeing its organization. Messianic and baptized Jews have also participated in recent years.

The greatest problem of this octave is the Greek-Orthodox Church´s reluctance. Despite this, however, one of its representatives, Archimandrite Athanasios, participates in the liturgical functions and joins in the common recitation of the Our Father and the bishops´ joint blessing of the faithful.

On Saturday, the week began with the common recitation of the “Apodeipnon,” or compline, prayed by the Greek-Orthodox monks in Calvary, namely, in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher.

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