SINGAPORE – The Church Unity Octave, dedicated to prayer for Christian unity, will mark the 100th anniversary of its inauguration on Jan 18-25.

The Church Unity Octave was founded in 1908 and held annually between the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter (formerly on Jan 18) and the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul on Jan 25. In 1916 Pope Benedict XV encouraged its observance throughout the church. The Church Unity Octave has commonly been observed with prayers, sermons and conferences.

In 1964, the bishops at the Second Vatican Council issued the Decree on Ecumenism, calling prayer "the soul of the ecumenical movement". In 1967, representatives from the Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholic churches agreed to jointly observe a time of prayer called the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Since 1968, the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity have collaborated annually in selecting scriptural themes and helpful materials to promote prayer for the unity of the Christian Churches.

The theme this year is "Pray Without Ceasing" (1 Thess 5:17). Two prayer services will be held: the first on Monday, Jan 21 at Barker Road Methodist Church, 8pm; the second on Wednesday, Jan 23 at Church of the Risen Christ, 8pm. All Christians are encouraged to attend. n

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