THE leaders of 11 German Christian denominations formally recognised each other’s baptism at an ecumenical ceremony in Magdeburg Cathedral on Sunday, 29 April, ENI reports.
“As a sign of the unity of all Christians, baptism is a bond with Jesus Christ, the foundation of this unity,” stated a common declaration signed at the service.
Church leaders at the service included the Bishop of the Evangelical Church in Germany, the Rt Revd Wolfgang Huber, and the chairman of the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Karl Lehmann.
The service marked Germany’s first formal agreement at national level. The idea was suggested in May 2002 by Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
In 2003, the then general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Revd Konrad Raiser, said that progress towards church unity could be made by focusing on baptism.
The 11 signatory Churches are the: Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Germany; Council of Anglican Episcopal Churches in Germany; Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church in Germany; Evangelical Old-Reformed Church in Lower Saxony; European Continental Province of the Moravian Church; Evangelical Church in Germany; Evangelical Methodist Church; Catholic diocese of the Old-Catholics in Germany; Orthodox Church in Germany; Roman Catholic Church; Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church.