What does the word “ecumenical” mean?

Ecumenical is a Greek word and it means “inhabited earth”.

What does this mean today?

In the course of 23 centuries the term changed its meaning seven times:

  1. the whole inhabited earth
  2. belonging to or representing the Roman Empire
  3. belonging to the Church as a whole or representing it
  4. having got general church validity
  5. concerning the worldwide missionary tasks of the Church
  6. relationship between some churches or different Christians with different religions
  7. the knowledge of belonging to a worldwide Christian community of the Churches und a Christian readiness to work for Churches united

The modern ecumenical movement of the 20th /21st century defines the term as following:

Ecumenical defines the fight of different Christians and churches (orthodox, protestant, catholic) for a united church as well as the point-of-view of Christian co-responsibility for a fair world where everybody can live in peace.

Therefore ecumenical means worldwide dialogue and the community of different Christian churches. This dialogue is necessary because of the development of different Christian churches during ages. As a foundation they all have got the belief in a God proofed by the bible though they vary in theological aspects.

An ecumenical church is searching for a unity of different Churches without ignoring differences (in peaceful diversity). Apart from that the ecumenical church works together with other movements having got similar goals, such as other religions or convictions.

Without tolerance this dialogue is impossible. It is an attempt to accept differences and to find things that they have in common.

The Ecumenical Youth Services offer space within the international workcamps to practise ecumenical life within Christian Churches and between Christians and people of other believes.

THE LITTLE OWL – an ecumenical fairy tale

Die kleine Eule

The Little-Owl

This story by austrian author Lene Mayer-Skumanz about the Question “The Great One-Which-Made-Everything” is a literary greeting to children and adults all over the world. Translations of the book have been donated by friends from many countries.