In search of unity

As is traditional this afternoon in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome on Pope Francis will conclude the Octave for Christian Unity with the prayer of Vespers. It is the final act of a week that has been celebrated with intensity in Valencia.

Andrés Valencia is one of the organizers of the events concluding today with an ecumenical prayer preached by Pastor Manuel Sarrías of the Baptist Church in the Seminary of Moncada.

Valencia, Professor of Ecumenism at the Faculty of Theology of St. Vincent Ferrer, explained that the Church is celebrating a week in the northern hemisphere prior to the day of the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25), a week dedicated to praying for “.to make real the command of Christ that we be united and that this unity be visible“, stressed Valencia who explained that the ultimate desire “is that Christian congregations can celebrate the Eucharist together”.

The motto was the words of St. John’s Gospel: “Abide in my love and you will bear fruit in abundance«. The organization of the events of the Week of Prayer in Valencia was carried out by the diocesan delegation of Interconfessional Relations of the Archbishopric of Valencia, the Interconfessional Ecumenical Center of Valencia (CEIV), the Oratori de Sant Felip Neri, the Yves Congar Chair of the Catholic University and the Christian denominations present in the diocese.

The act of opening was a round table at the Faculty of Theology with the participation of Father Emmanuel Pop from the Patriarchate of Romania, Father Vasyl Boyko from the Greek Catholic Church and Father Naïm Shoshandy from the Syro-Catholic Church of Iraq.

Archimandrite Demetria Sáez of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople sent a written reflection and the archpriest Juan María Tellería, from the Spanish Reformed Church, participated virtually. All of them were moderated by Andrés Valencia.

The event also served to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Apostolic Letter ‘Orientale lumen of John Paul II.

Valencia stressed the importance of these because “praying together facilitates unity«. He explained that the materials for this year have been developed by the Grandchamp Community. This is a community where nuns of different Christian confessions live and pray for the unity of the churches.

One of the highlights was The Hispanic Rite Mass at St. Catherine’s for the unity in the festivity of San Vicente Mártir that was celebrated last Friday coinciding with the festivity of the patron saint of the city of Valencia.

This mass “traditionally takes place in the chapel-prison of San Vicente Mártir, but this year, due to the pandemic and the established measures, we decided to move it to Saint Catherine“, said August Monzón, spiritual director of the Oratori de Sant Felip Neri, one of the entities organizing the events.

The Eucharist was officiated in Valencian and with some parts in by August Monzón and concelebrated by Jordi Miquel, a priest attached to Saint Thomas the Apostle and Saint Philip Neri.

The music of this mass, for the most part, is an adaptation of a Mozarabic melody composed by Ricard Sarrió Camarasa.

On the other hand, the Basilica of St. Vincent Ferrer of the Dominicans in Valencia hosted this week the celebration of an ecumenical prayer that included the preaching of Pastor Pau Grau, from the Baptist Church.

Also, on Saturday the Church of the Santa Clara Convent in Valencia, run by the Capuchin Poor Clares, hosted the ecumenical service ‘Lux in Via organized by the Oratori de Sant Felip Neri and the International Ecumenical Association (IEF). The evangelical pastor Peter Austin was in charge of preaching this year.

A ceremony this afternoon in the Seminary of Moncada will put an end to the events organized in the Diocese of Valencia. It will be an ecumenical prayer preached by the pastor Manuel SarríasHe is the Secretary General Emeritus of the Evangelical Baptist Union of Spain (UEBE) and vice-president of the Federation of Evangelical Religious Entities of Spain (FEREDE).


The Yves Congar Chair of the San Vicente Ferrer Faculty of Theology, in collaboration with the Institute of Ecumenical Studies at the Angelicum in Rome and the San Luigi section of the Facoltà Teologica dell’Italia Meridionale, has organized a symposium in November to commemorate the 25th anniversary of John Paul II’s encyclical ‘Ut Unum sint’. Initially planned for last November, the pandemic has forced a postponement.

The symposium will take place between 24th and 26th November and is entitled ‘Ut Unum sint’: the irreversible path of the Church. The inauguration will be held by Cardinal Kurt KochPresident of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

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