Every year, at the end of January, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity takes place. Taking place over eight days, and forming an octave of prayer, it takes place between January 18 and January 25.
Discover the meaning, origins and celebration of this octave of prayer and pray with Christians around the world for eight days!
The Week for Christian Unity - also called the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity - is an annual ecumenical event that brings together Christians of all faiths from January 18 to 25.
For eight days, Christians around the world pray with one heart to ask for the grace of unity, in order to respond to Christ's prayer: "That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me, and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." (John 17:21).
Christians have always prayed jointly for Christian unity, but it was not until the nineteenth century that an octave for Christian unity was officially born, under the impetus of an Episcopal priest of the American Anglican Church, Paul Wattson. He wanted to strengthen the unity of Christians around the Holy Father.
In 1930, Father Paul Couturier wanted to give a new impetus to this octave of prayer: he then gave it the name of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and assigned it a new objective: that of praying for the unity of Christians "as Christ wants it, by the means he wants". He then engaged various religious communities to join this prayer movement, and asked them to focus the Week of Prayer around a specific theme, based on ecumenical prayer.
Today, the Week for Christian Unity has a strong international and interfaith dimension.
The Week for Christian Unity takes place in the form of an octave of prayer, that is to say eight days of celebration, between January 18 - feast of the Chair of St. Peter in Rome - and January 25 - feast of the conversion of Saint Paul.
Since the Second Vatican Council, it has focused each year on a different theme, chosen by an international and interconfessional commission. From this theme formulated from a biblical verse, biblical texts and meditations are selected for prayer, and daily celebrations are chosen. A preparation booklet containing the program of the services is also published each year.
The theme for the year 2022 was: “We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him”.
"O God of forgiveness, Father of mercy, free us from the painful memories of the past, which bruise our common Christian identity. Guide us to reconciliation so that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome hatred with love, anger with kindness, and distrust with trust. Let us, enlightened by your Word, be able to walk on your path. May our churches hope and desire the unity for which your Son prayed on the eve of his Passion. Teach us to trust you. Make us authentic disciples of your Son. Give us the strength to build relationships of compassion, solidarity and harmony. In our sincere search for your truth, purify our judgments of others. Give us a spirit of generosity towards all as we walk together towards the unity of Christians. We ask this in the name of your Son who reigns with you and with the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
During the Week for Christian Unity, everyone is personally invited to pray for Christian unity, especially during Mass or during prayer vigils.
You can also spiritually unite with all the Christians of the world, thanks to the beautiful prayer communities on Hozana: