Magazine article The Christian Century

Benedict and Kobia Pray Together in Rome for Christian Unity

Magazine article The Christian Century

Benedict and Kobia Pray Together in Rome for Christian Unity

Article excerpt

In an ecumenical first, a general secretary of the World Council of Churches took part with the pope in a Rome service to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an observance that began 100 years ago in the U.S.

WCC general secretary Samuel Kobia, a Methodist minister from Kenya, prayed with Pope Benedict XVI January 25 in the ancient basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, where according to tradition the bones of the apostle Paul were buried following his execution by rulers of ancient Rome.

Saying that "the world needs a church that is one and united in its witness," Kobia referred to unrest in his home country that has led to more than 850 deaths. "The common witness of the churches for reconciliation and healing of the nation is crucial for peace in Kenya," Kobia said.

The service, which gathered about 30 leaders of WCC churches, came at the end of the January 18-25 observances described by the National Catholic Reporter's John Allen as a "week-long ecumenical festival. …

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