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Pope Francis during Ecumenical Prayer Vigil: ‘Christian unity grows in silence’

Pope Francis said that unity among different Christian denominations will only grow in silence before the cross, which is one of the essential elements in the life of the Church.

“Christian unity grows in silence before the cross, just like the seeds we will receive, which represent the different gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit on the various traditions. It is up to us to sow them, in the certainty that God alone brings about the growth,” said the Holy Father during an Ecumenical Prayer Vigil on September 30.

The service was held in anticipation of the 16th General Assembly of the Synod in Rome on October 4–29, 2023.

The prayer vigil was attended by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, and other Head of Churches and delegations of various Christian traditions.

Praying together in the way of Taize, which involved solemn songs and silent prayer, the pope led the gathered faithful in St. Peter’s Square in entrusting the upcoming Synod to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Pope Francis said that being united in silence is a powerful gesture of forcing ourselves to face God and ourselves, which will prove useful to the success of the Synodal process.

“This reminds us that silence, in the ecclesial community, makes fraternal communication possible, where the Holy Spirit draws together points of view,” he said. “To be synodal is to welcome one another like this, in the knowledge that we all have something to share and to learn, gathering together to listen to the “Spirit of truth” in order to know what the Lord “is saying to the churches.”

Pope Francis also prayed that achieving Christian unity through silence will bring every Christian closer to the Lord.

“That is why we ask, in common prayer, to learn again to be silent: to listen to the voice of the Father, the call of Jesus and the groaning of the Spirit,” he said.

“Let us ask that the Synod be a kairós of fraternity, a place where the Holy Spirit will purify the Church from gossip, ideologies, and polarization,” he further said.” - Luke Godoy


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