World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Press centre / News / Cardinal Koch visits Geneva for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Cardinal Koch visits Geneva for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Cardinal Koch visits Geneva for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

The Salvadoran cross will be placed in the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva. Photo: LWF

17 January 2018

The Salvadoran Cross created for the joint Catholic-Lutheran Commemoration of the Reformation in Lund 2016 will be permanently placed in the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland, this Thursday. The cross will be dedicated during a service on the first day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on 18 January 2018.

At the consecration service, the Catholic Church will be represented by H.E. Cardinal Koch, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) by general secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge and the World Council of Churches by general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. Cardinal Koch and Rev. Dr Kaisamari Hintikka will preach together.

On 31 October 2016, The Lutheran World Federation President Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge jointly with Pope Francis led a service to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the reformation in the Lund Cathedral, Sweden. The service was marked as a milestone in the history of Lutheran-Catholic relations and in the ecumenical movement.

The cross for this service was created by the artist Christian Chavarria Ayala, a Lutheran from El Salvador. In colorful Salvadoran style, it shows Jesus sharing a meal of bread and wine with people from all nations, a baptismal font and a vineyard with grapes referring to John 15:1-5: “Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches”. The Bible verse was a scripture reading for the service.

“In gratitude for the Lutheran and Catholic Joint Commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in Lund, Sweden, we commend this Lund Cross to the Chapel of the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva. May it be a sign of the hope that we share, as we leave behind our conflict, and turns towards our common future,” says LWF general secretary, Rev Dr Martin Junge.

The service starts at 8.30 am MET. It will be livestreamed on www.facebook.com/lutheranworld Media representatives are welcome to attend the service. The artist Christian Chavarria Ayala, who painted the cross, will be available for interviews after the service as well.

For more information please contact:

Rev Arni Danielsson, LWF head of communications, asd@lutheranworld.org, phone:  +41 22 791 6367.

Marianne Ejdersten, WCC director of communication, mej@wcc-coe.org, phone: +41 79 507 63 63;


High resolution images of the cross and the Joint Ecumenical Commemoration in Lund

Read more about the Lund cross

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity