Week of Prayer for Christian Unity [Continues in Jerusalem till Jan. 30], the Eleventh Day – Jan. 28, 2022

I POST every day, first to the “Friends of the WCC”, a reflection on this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The theme had been proposed this year by the MECC (Middle-East Council of the Churches) and indeed, I try to show the Semitic Christian roots that are often neglected though they deeply impact the heritage of all the Church Traditions. Today’s text:
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity [Continues in Jerusalem till Jan. 30], the Eleventh Day – Jan. 28, 2022.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity goes on in the traditional area of the local Churches of Jerusalem. It will end on Saturday evening at the Greek-Melkite Cathedral of Jaffa Gate. Different decisions have been taken by the Latin Roman Catholic Patriarchate of Jerusalem to allow possibilities to share the Holy Sacraments with the Eastern Orthodox, the Ancient Oriental Churches, the Protestants and the Anglicans, from Holy Eucharist to Marriages, Funerals, less often performed the Sacrament of the Holy Oil (to heal the Sick).
It is a Western-style decision that would make sense and does at rare times when the faithful have to get pastoral assistance. It questions in many ways because since the Magi arrived at Bethlehem, since the apostolic times, different schisms and splits happened and we cannot ignore them. We ought to respect the various ways each Church reflected and practice nowadays the Mysteries that the Resurrected Lord entrusted.
It is our duty to pray and consider how the Lord calls us to mystical, sacramental togetherness. It cannot be resolved by an overall denial of the multi-faceted interpretations that showed throughout the ages, distance, mental and cultural contexts, languages.
Ecclesia supplet (the Church supplies) is a free, non-payable rule of the Church to nourish the souls of all Faith hungry Christians. It obliges to comply with the traditional commandments of each Christian denomination.
How did the Magi introduce themselves to the Holy Family at the Cave of Bethlehem? We saw that they came obediently. They had looked at the Star and they followed it on its development in the sky. They came and kneeled. They bowed low and they brought gifts that remain spiritual symbols of Kingdom, Worship and ultimately announced the burial of the Messiah Jesus Whom the One Father and God King of the universe revived, reinvigorated, resurrected from death. This Bread of Divine Oneness is unique.
Friday is the day on which the Church experiences the weekly remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ. He was put to the Cross, at the stake, confided His Mother to John, the beloved disciple who took care of the nascent Ekklesia. “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst” (Dipso/διψῶ-ܨܗܐ-Sitio, John 19:28).
Today, the Church commemorates Saint Ephrem of Nisibis, the Deacon and Lyre of the Holy Spirit, revered by all Christian denominations. He wrote in the magnificent Aramaic dialect of his hometown. His Great Lenten prayer of penance is only known from a Greek version. It makes sense today! “
O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity,
humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.
Yea, Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors
and not to judge my brother,
for Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.”
Before Mor Ephrem was born, these words might have invisibly inspired the Magi along their route to the Manger.

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