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Pope Francis and Archbishops urge people to pray for Christian Unity

by Alex Collett

Pope Francis and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are among church leaders encouraging people to get involved with the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. 

Resources for the week, which begins today, January 18 and continues until January 25, have been prepared by the Middle East Council of Churches.

This year’s theme focuses on relating the experience of the Magi, who came from the East to Bethlehem to worship the Messiah King: “We saw the star in the East and we came to worship him.”

In a tweet marking his support for the week, the Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell wrote :

“Today marks the start of a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

“A call for churches to work together to build a future in which all human beings can experience life, peace, justice and love.”

The Pope said that Christians of diverse backgrounds and traditions "are pilgrims on our way to full unity" who come closer to our goal when keeping our gaze fixed on Jesus.

The Pope encouraged us to pray for Christian unity and also offer up our struggles and suffering.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby has also tweeted: “Jesus’ last public prayer in John 17:21 was ‘that all of them may be one.’

He's urging Christians to join in a prayer written by the Chemin Neuf Community and which is said every day at his residence at Lambeth Palace.

“Lord Jesus, who prayed that we might all be one, We pray to you for the unity of Christians according to your will, according to your means.

“May your Spirit enable us to experience suffering caused by division, To see our sin and to hope beyond all hope 


Each year ecumenical partners in a different region of the world are asked to prepare the materials for the Week. You can download this year's material here :


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