The restrictions imposed because of the Covid-19 pandemic render the traditional celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021 impossible in Jerusalem. In the hope that the situation will improve in the meantime, the celebration has been postponed till the time of Pentecost.
According to an ancient tradition a provisional program was established for the celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021 in Jerusalem, with an ecumenical celebration in a different Church every day, between Saturday 23 and Sunday 31 January. However, the restrictions imposed because of the corona pandemic do not allow the fraternal celebrations and gatherings of the previous years. These personal meetings cannot be replaced by virtual celebrations online. As a consequence it was decided to postpone the celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021 until the time of Pentecost. Most of the Churches of the southern hemisphere celebrate the Unity Week at that time of the year. So for this year the Churches of Jerusalem will join these Churches in a common prayer.
At the same time, in order not to let this Unity Week pass unnoticed in Jerusalem, plans had been made to organize one or two virtual celebrations online, with the help of the Christian Media Center. Unfortunately, these plans have also been made impossible because of recent new Covid-19 infections and of the new quarantine obligations required.
Nevertheless these difficulties should not prevent us to pray for Christian Unity. Therefore all Churches and religious communities are invited to pray especially for this intention with their members during the Week that was originally planned, 23-31 January 2021. “That they all may be one…”
Fr. Frans Bouwen
Episcopal Commission for Ecumenical Relations