With roots going back over 100 years, the dedicated octave of prayers has been jointly commissioned and prepared since 1968, after the Second Vatican Council, by the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC.
The observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an international Christian ecumenical observance kept annually between 18-25 January in the Northern Hemisphere and around Pentecost in the Southern Hemisphere. In many parts of the world, joining in prayer for Christian unity is a significant moment especially as they worship together using the order of worship that has been prepared.
Preparations for the resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity usually start two years in advance. Each year ecumenical partners in a different region are asked to prepare the materials. It is customary for the choice to alternate between the Dicastery and the WCC. The year 2025 marks the 1700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea, the first Christian ecumenical council, held in Nicaea, near Constantinople, from 20 May to 25 July 325 AD. Consequently, given the upcoming Nicea celebration, the focus of the annual observance will not be on a region but rather on the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. There was consensus that the ecumenical monastic community of Bose be chosen to prepare the 2025 resource.
They did so considering the theme “Do you believe this?” (John 11: 25 – 27). This theme takes its cue from the dialogue between Jesus and Martha and Mary in the episode of the resurrection of Lazarus narrated by the evangelist John. The spiritual environment at the Bose community provided an inspiring atmosphere for the editorial team as it did its work. There were daily opportunities to share in the daily prayers of the community: early in the morning, at noon and again at evening. The depth of the spirituality experienced in the chapel was equally matched by the rich and gracious hospitality of the sisters and brothers of the Bose monastic community.
As the 2025 materials are being prepared for translation, the 2024 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a few months away. We will pray the resources that were prepared by Christians in Burkina Faso, guided by the theme: “You shall love the Lord your God ... and your neighbour as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)