It's easy to take ecumenism for granted in Canada, even during this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Of course, the full expression of visible unity has not been achieved, and won't likely occur within our lifetime. But we have grown so accustomed to respectful relations and cooperative efforts on social issues that our prayers for unity often lack a sense of urgency.
In other parts of the world, ecumenism must overcome rifts that have deepened over centuries. Such is the case in the Holy Land, where multiple denominations share custody of holy sites. On December 28, a dispute between Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox monks at the Church of the Nativity escalated into a brawl with broomsticks
Fortunately, this isn't the whole story. Since 2009, Christians in Jerusalem have been participating in prayer gatherings called the Extraordinary Prayer of all Churches for Reconciliation, Unity and Peace
. The liturgies are endorsed by the Catholic Church, among other denominations. This Saturday, the Coptic Orthodox Church of St. Anthony will host the seventh such event. S+L will air the Extraordinary Prayer live in French this Saturday morning starting at 11:00am ET / 8:00am PT. The Franciscan Media Centre previews the event in the above video.