This week, we’ll be celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity by highlighting historical figures who were practicing ecumenism before it was cool, acting with charity and forbearance toward their fellow Christians.
Count Nikolaus von Zinzendorf (1700 – 1760) was the Bishop of the Moravian Church and the founder of the Church of the Brethren. He created a collection of around 150 Protestant hymns for Catholic use titled Christ-catholisches Singe-und Bet-Buechlein, the “Christian Catholic Booklet for Song and Prayer.” This act of unity and good will was apparently well-received; according to Zinzendorf, the hymnal was “truly received with joy by many honorable and open-minded people of the Catholic Church, and used with blessings for their hearts.” *
Have a suggestion of an ecumenical trendsetter? Leave us a comment or let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Ruff, Anthony, OSB. Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform: Treasures and Transformations. Chicago/Mundelein, Illinois: Hillenbrand Books, 2007. p. 585.
Other posts in this series:
At least two of his hymns were still sung in the Mennonite churches I grew up in:
“Jesus, thy blood and righteousness” and “Jesus, still lead on”