Ecumenical Group Gets a Jump on Week of Prayer

Offers Commentary on Christian Unity

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ROME, JAN. 17, 2005 ( The theme of the upcoming Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a program of life for all Christians, says an Italian ecumenical group.

The octave will be celebrated in many countries starting this Tuesday until Jan. 25 on the theme «Christ, Only Foundation of the Church.»

To present the week, commentaries were written by Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Secretariat for Ecumenism and Dialogue of the Italian episcopal conference; Archpriest Traina Valdman of the Romanian Orthodox Vicariate of Italy; and Gianni Long, president of the Federation of Evangelical Churches of Italy.

For the three representatives of Christian churches and denominations, the topic proposed «offers the opportunity to reflect on the ways in which Christ is perceived as foundation of his Church.»

In a document they suggest that «it might perhaps be opportune if Churches within themselves and each Christian in his own community, meditate on what happens when we lose sight of the fact that God — and not ourselves — must be at the center of our universe as Creator and Giver of gifts.»

Quoting the Letter to the Corinthians, the three authors underline that «competition among rivals often leads to envy and jealousy. Therefore, Paul exhorts his disciples to compete in charity.»

«This calls for humility, recognition that only God is Giver of gifts, and the sole condition that prevents us from being proud, from becoming narcissistic and thinking only of ourselves,» the document reads. «Any other attitude obfuscates the true and only foundation, Jesus Christ.

«The Churches and all Christians are called to imitate Christ in everything, to enter Christ’s plan and to follow his steps, to live in perfect obedience to the will of God and, therefore, to be united to the Father.»

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