Prayer for Christian Unity

“The Church should invoke the Holy Spirit with ever greater insistence, imploring from Him the grace of Christian unity. This is a crucial matter for our testimony to the Gospel before the world.” – Pope John Paul II, Tertio Millenio Adveniente

Eastern Orthodoxy is the second largest Christian confession in the world after Roman Catholicism. Full communion between us would unite 240 million Orthodox believers with over 1,000 million Roman Catholics. In 1995 an Ektenia or Litany for Unity was written by the Very Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Maria Duran, M.J. (the founder of Miles Jesu) and Rev. Fr. Paul Mary Vota, M.J. The Ektenia is prayed by Miles Jesu communities in East and West. Below is a sample. We encourage all Christians to make this prayer:

Introduction
Jesus Christ founded only One Church. Who else but men divided it? And the devil? He is the ‘father of lies’ who creates confusion in individuals and societies. God is always and only One, even in His Three Persons. God is One, Harmony, Peace, Order, Clarity, Unity, Positiveness, Concord.

In every created thing there are three elements: the essential, the important and the accidental. The unity of the Church belongs to Her very essence because it derives right from the very essence of God. To divide the Church founded by Jesus Christ is to divide the very ‘Mystical Body of Christ’.

The important in the Church are Her venerable traditions and customs in the East and in the West. For example, the Eastern and Latin Rites. We should have respect for each other and essential unity in the Faith. As time progresses the Church also acquires a deeper understanding of the mysteries revealed to Her by Her Divine Founder, a homogeneous deepening of Her knowledge, not a contradictory one.

The accidentals are always disputable and many times we can only arrive at a decision through the hierarchical authority in the Church.

Much of the antagonisms that have even caused serious breaches in the Church have come through unclear thinking about the priorities in this division of the essential, the important and the accidental.

The scandal of the division of the Church between East and West in 1054 that broke the dogma of unity (the biggest ecclesial scandal) encouraged, by way of example, the many other innumerable divisions of Christianity. All the human egos together will never arrive at unity. Only when we are willing to let the Divine Person of ‘Christ our God, Lover of men and Benefactor of our souls’ (from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom) take over all our human small persons, then Unity, Harmony and Peace will heal our divisions, antagonisms, and wounded egos. And now let us pray:

Leader: WISDOM. Let us be attentive. (Divine Liturgy)
Reader: “…one Body and one Spirit, even as you were called in one hope of your calling: one Lord, one faith, one baptism: one God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in us all” (Eph. 4:4-6)

Leader: Let us love one another so that we may be of one mind in confessing (Divine Liturgy)
People: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity one in being and undivided. (Divine Liturgy)

Reader: “This is My commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
Leader: Let us love one another so that we may be of one mind in confessing (Divine Liturgy)

[Recite the Creed]

Leader: “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must lead them, too, and they shall hear My voice. There shall be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:16)
People: Grant this, O Lord.

Leader: Grant that with one voice and one heart we may glorify and sing the praises of Your Most honoured and magnificent Name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever (Divine Liturgy)
People: Amen

Priest or Deacon: + Peace be with you.
People: And with your spirit.

[Hymns, Our Father and further verses from the Holy Bible]

Leader: For the peace and unity of God’s Kingdom, let us pray to the Lord. (Latin Rite)
People: Lord, have mercy.

Leader: For peace throughout the world, for the well-being of God’s holy churches and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord. (Divine Liturgy)
People: Lord, have mercy.

Leader: For the unity of all God’s children wherever they may be, let us pray to the Lord. (Latin Rite)
People: Lord, have mercy.

Leader: For all our brethren in Christ, let us pray to the Lord. (Divine Liturgy)
People: Lord, have mercy.

Leader: That all who share in the Body and Blood of Christ may be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord. (Latin Rite)
People: Lord, have mercy.

Leader: Having asked for the unity of the faith and for the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God. (Divine Liturgy)
People: To You, O Lord.
Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.
Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.
Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us. (Divine Liturgy)

Leader: The nearer we are to the heart of Jesus, the nearer we are to each other.

[Prayers to the Mother of God and closing prayers]

While it is good for a group to recite the above litany, the beauty of unity becomes even more apparent when it is sung or chanted. Copies of the Litany can be obtained online or by contacting Miles Jesu.

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