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The Octave of Christian Unity at AFC

What is it?

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity lasts from January 18th until January 25th and is a time when Christians of all stripes are called to pray for the unity of the Church. Pope Leo XIII had asked for Catholics to pray for Christian unity and in 1897 established the continual recitation of a novena. The actual dates of the week of prayer were established by Spencer Jones, an Anglican priest and Lewis Wattson, an Episcopal priest who later converted to Catholicism. They suggested the dates of January 18-25 to begin with the old date of the Confession (or Chair) of St. Peter and end on the Conversion of St. Paul, holy days within the Church year. Pope Pius X approved the new octave and extended its observance throughout the whole of the Catholic Church. Paul Couturier, a Frenchman, is well known for popularizing the week. The links below explain more of the history of the octave and served as sources for this brief introduction.

A Brief History of the Week of Prayer

Another Brief History

Octave of Unity at AFC

One of our main concerns at Ancient and Future Catholics is the unity of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, because of the vast amount of theology, practice, and morality that we have in common. We also pray for the unity of all Christians. We try to promote these goals through honest dialogue about areas where we disagree and working together where we agree. Following the words of the John Paul II of blessed memory, we at Ancient and Future Catholics want to "breathe with both lungs."

We believe the best way to achieve unity between Orthodox and Catholics is twofold: prayer and mutual understanding. This is also how we will accomplish greater unity with our Protestant brothers and sisters. On Ancient and Future Catholics we have always worked towards mutual understanding and now we want to make prayer for visible unity another primary focus. What better way to achieve that goal than to start with the octave of Christian unity? We have several suggestions for these 8 days. The first obvious activity is prayer. Each day we will post prayer suggestions, but above all, we must pray for visible unity between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, and with other churches as well. Secondly, we will provide a reading from both Eastern and Western Christian writers. This purpose is to help each side become more acquainted with the riches involved in the Western and Eastern heritage. This will also include liturgical texts. Finally, we will give practical suggestions for better relations with individual Orthodox and Catholics, principles which apply also to our relationships with Protestants. Although we are primarily focusing on Catholic-Orthodox relations, our secondary focus will be prayer for the unity of all Christians and the conversion of non-Christians. This effort is not officially associated with any diocese or parish and we are loyal to the Magisterium and our bishops. We are simply laymen trying to live out our faith.

So, starting on January 18th, please join us and the Catholic Church as we pray that all Christians, by God's grace, may be one as our Lord prayed before his Passion.

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Octave: Day 1 (Jan. 18)
Octave: Day 2 (Jan. 19)
Octave: Day 3 (Jan. 20)
Octave: Day 4 (Jan. 21)
Octave: Day 5 (Jan. 22)
Octave: Day 6 (Jan. 23)
Octave: Day 7 (Jan. 24)
Octave: Day 8 (Jan. 25)

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