Official Orthodox Representatives at Universal Brotherhood Meeting

Joint prayers, universal brotherhood, nothing to see here people, nothing at all….

For background, see Focolare Movement (Wikipedia):The Focolare Movement is an international organization that promotes the ideals of unity and universal brotherhood.

The British website had this in the advertisement for the event: One of the highlights of the week will be Evensong in St Albans Abbey on Saturday, 10 September where the group will solemnly sign ‘a pact of mutual love’, a pledge to be ready to give their lives for one another, to pray for each other’s Church, each other’s diocese. Bishop Robin Smith sums it up: ‘When I first made this pact I was bowled over by it. I have a signed copy in front of me at home in the place where I pray.’

( More than 30 bishops from different Christian traditions have met in Britain as part of the ongoing efforts to strive for Christian unity.

Representatives from the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, Orthodox and Syrian Orthodox churches met at the Focolare Movement’s Centre for Unity in Welwyn Garden City from September 6-11.

Inspired by the Focolare’s ‘spirituality of unity’, the event was the 30th annual meeting of the inter-denominational group which this year was convened by Cardinal Vlk, Archbishop Emeritus of Prague.

Later that day, the ecumenical group joined Archbishop Vincent Nichols for vespers and were present at the 5.30pm Mass in Westminster Cathedral.

On September 9 an open day was held which welcomed an additional 25 Church Leaders from England and Scotland and included a key input from Maria Voce, who took over as Focolare’s president from the founder Chiara Lubich after her death in 2008.

Maria Voce is well versed in ecumenical matters having opened the Focolare community in Istanbul in the late 1970s where she lived for several years, establishing strong ecumenical bonds with the Orthodox Church as well as developing Focolare’s interfaith relations with Muslim communities.