WCC Archives and Library

The WCC Archives and Library form the institutional and historical memory of the World Council of Churches and the modern ecumenical movement. They ensure for future generations a long-term access to this unique and invaluable documentary resource and ecumenical heritage, while furthering ecumenical research and education locally and globally.


Since their foundation, the WCC Archives and Library have had as their mission to serve as a place for ecumenical study and research and to preserve the historical memory of the ecumenical movement. They provide information resources on the history of ecumenism from its beginnings in the early 20th century to today, to students, faculty, researchers, WCC staff, and visitors, thus furthering ecumenical theological education and research on site and globally.

The WCC Archives, housed at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, preserves the records of the World Council of Churches as well as of various other ecumenical organizations or movements and of personal papers of ecumenical personalities. The collection contains paper documents, photographs, sound tapes, films and videos, representing some 2,000 running meters.

The WCC Library, housed at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, holds about 100,000 volumes and 900 periodicals, constituting a unique collection on ecumenism and the history of the ecumenical movement, as well as further collections in areas such as biblical hermeneutics, social ethics, missiology, contextual theology, and interfaith dialogue.

WCC Archive

Search the online inventories of WCC Archives

Search instructions:

  • Choose your language (de, en, fr). Please note that the description of the archives is in English. The language of the documents is largely English, but other languages as well.
  • We recommend starting with the Archive plan search
    Step down the hierarchy of the Archive Plan by clicking on "+" and select the relevant archival units. By clicking on the title, you get the detail view with full information about the item. Turn back to the hierarchical view by clicking the icon "Localize in archive plan" on the left.
  • Full text search
    Search in all fields of description. It is recommended when you have specific key words as, e.g., names of persons. Use quotation marks if your key word is a compound term (e.g. "South Sudan").
  • Field search
    Search in one or several specific fields of description. That is recommended when you want to search for a reference code.
  • Descriptor search
    This allows you to search by subject, person, events and conferences, geographical names, WCC governing bodies, programmes, units and sister organizations. The first step is to find your descriptor(s). The second step (on the right) is to start a search with the selected descriptor. Analyze your results: be aware of the description level of every result and of the reference code (codes beginning with a number are paper archives, those beginning with a letter are audiovisual documents). Localize your result by clicking on the archive plan icon (AP).
Search the WCC Library catalogue

The WCC Library shares its online catalogue with the network of Swiss academic libraries SLSP.

The documents of the WCC Library have the mention "WCC Bossey" for their location.

Digital archive of WCC documents

Stored on the Internet Archive platform, several digitized collections like Assembly reports, Executive and Central Committee reports and minutes, Faith and Order Papers, or Journals are freely available.

Collections of documents (Brill)

World Council of Churches: Dialogue with People of Living Faiths

Collection of documents related to the program of WCC supporting interreligious multi-lateral and bi-lateral dialogue with partners of different faiths.


World War II Era Records of the World Council of Churches

Collection of documents from a section of the World Council of Churches Archives, dealing with Germany and fifteen other countries during the period 1932-1957.


World Council of Churches: Relations with the Roman Catholic Church

This collection makes available a section of the ecumenical archives covering the period 1948-1992.


Online access to the full text is available from the WCC computer network

Online resources provided by the WCC Library

Search for databases


Search for online journals


Search for e-books


Search for WCC publications and official WCC documents and statements online

WCC Programme to Combat Racism (JSTOR)

Collection of digitized documents of the WCC Programme to Combat Racism, available on the JSTOR platform.


Online access to the full text is available from the WCC computer network


Conditions of use

Researchers are kindly requested to read and follow the Archives Rules, fill in and sign the Archives inscription form and send it two weeks in advance of a planned visit to archives@wcc-coe.org:

  • Consultation follows the Archives Rules (Feb. 2012) and is only upon request and appointment. It is free of charge.
  • Access to archival documents is open 20 years after file closure. In case of preponderant interests, the embargo period may be longer.
  • Any user who asks for access to records during an embargo period is requested to submit a written request to the archivists of WCC, explaining the research purpose and specifying in as detailed and precise a way as possible the records or documents whose disclosure he or she requests.
  • Consultation takes place exclusively in the reading room.
  • Ordering is limited to three units (boxes).
  • Users are not allowed to access the repositories except when accompanied by the staff or under explicit authorization.
  • Use of personal devices, such as cameras (without flash),  is generally allowed but needs previous authorization of the staff.
  • The archivists help and guide the user to start the search. Any other services carried out by the archivists, such as search and documentation on request and reproduction of documents, are subject to the search and reproduction fee as specified in the Archival Fees.
  • Use of archival sources has to be acknowledged by quoting the source "Archives of the World Council of Churches" or "WCC Archives," and in case of reproduction of a document as an image, "by permission of World Council of Churches," and by indicating the exact archival reference number.

Archives Rules (pdf)

Archival Fees (pdf)

Inscription Form (word)



  • The WCC Library (located at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey) is part of SLSP, the network of Swiss academic libraries. The Library is open to the public on appointment and for consultation only.
  • Loan is restricted to the students and faculty of the Institute, WCC staff, and the staff of ecumenical sister organizations based in the Ecumenical Centre. Exceptions may apply.
  • Loan period: 28 days, renewable three times, if the document is not requested by another user. For each renewal of the loan period (after 28 days), the users need to notify the Library. The loan period for teaching staff and Ph.D. students enrolled at Bossey is one semester, maximum.
  • Number of items per loan: max. 20 (40 for teaching staff and Ph.D. students enrolled at Bossey). Documents in the Archives, as well as reference works, periodicals, and dissertations, are not available for loan.
  • Documents from Bossey can be delivered free of charge to the Ecumenical Centre within one week, if requested by WCC staff, staff of ecumenical sister organizations based in the Ecumenical Centre, and Archives users (only for consultation in that case).

Archives of the World Council of Churches

Anne-Emmanuelle Tankam, archivist
E-mail: archives@wcc-coe.org
Phone: +41 (0) 22 791 62 74

Opening hours: on appointment

Ecumenical Centre,
1 Route des Morillons
1218 Grand Saconnex

The WCC Archives are located at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva. Take the bus Nr. 5 operating between Geneva main station Cornavin and Geneva Airport until bus stop Crêts de Morillon. Go to the main reception and ask for the archivist.


Library of the World Council of Churches

Pedro Nari, librarian
E-mail: library@wcc-coe.org
Phone: +41 (0) 22 960 73 96

Opening hours: on appointment for external visitors. Usual presence of the librarian: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday.

Ecumenical Institute
Château de Bossey
Ch. Chenevière 2
CH-1279 Bogis-Bossey

Bossey map and directions

By public transport:
From the central train station in Geneva or Lausanne, take a regional train to the stations in Coppet or Nyon. From there, using the same ticket, change to the local bus (TPN 811) and get off at the stop "Céligny, village." It is about a 15 minute walk to the Institute; just follow the signs for the "Château de Bossey-Institut oecuménique".

By car:
Coming from Geneva or Lausanne via motorway A1:
Get off at exit Coppet-Divonne, direction Chavannes-de-Bogis. Drive through the village, turn right following the signpost "Château de Bossey-Institut oecuménique." Follow the signs for about 2km to the Château de Bossey.

Coming from Geneva via the lake road:
Drive through Versoix and Coppet. Take the left turn from the lake road for Céligny. At the village centre, follow the sign for "Château de Bossey-Institut oecuménique" to the left. Then turn left again for the Château de Bossey.