Unity Council Marks 50 Years

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 9, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity will celebrate its 50th birthday with an ecumenical event this Nov. 17.

The event will be presided over by Archbishop Kurt Koch, president of the council, and will be attended by Cardinal Walter Kasper, retired president, Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, and Metropolitan Pergamo Ioannis (Zizioulas) of the ecumenical patriarchate of Constantinople.

What would become the pontifical council was established by Blessed Pope John XXIII on June 5, 1960. In 1988 Pope John Paul II changed the name of the secretariat to the current Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The date for the celebratory event coincides with the council’s plenary session, which will be held Nov. 15-19 and focus on the theme: “Toward a New Stage of Ecumenical Dialogue.”

“This review of the past, focusing on the moment of foundation and on the road travelled thus far, will provide an occasion to give thanks to God for those people who have helped to advance the cause of ecumenism, and for the abundant fruits that have been produced,” a statement from the council affirmed today. “It will likewise help to arouse renewed interest in the cause of unity and underline the firm resolve to continue the journey towards the full communion of all Christians, confidently facing the new challenges that arise.”