WASHINGTON, March 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pope Benedict XVI will lead an ecumenical prayer service April 18, at St. Joseph's Church in the Yorkville area of Manhattan.
Participants at the service will include 250 national and local Protestant and Orthodox Church leaders.
St. Joseph's Church was built in the 19th century by the immigrant German community that settled in the area and today serves a diverse population. A Sunday Mass is still celebrated in German.
The pope will address the group after a reading from Paul's letter to the Ephesians (4:1-6) and before the congregation prays the Lord's Prayer.
At the end of the ceremony, the pope will greet ten national and five local ecumenical leaders.
The national leaders include:
Archbishop Demetrios of America, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In June 2003, the Archbishop led the delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the Vatican for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. He serves as Chairman of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas.
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America. Archbishop Barsamian is a member of the international dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, and is Chairman of the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches in the United States.
Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, legate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) in Washington and ecumenical officer. He became President of the National Council of Churches USA January 1, 2008.
Rev. Dr. Donald McCoid, representing Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is Director of the Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations Office of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Bishop Jeremiah J. Park, Bishop of the New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Rev. Dr. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary of the Reformed Church in America since 1994, and one of the five Presidents of Christian Churches Together in the USA, representing the historic Protestant family.
Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA) since 1996.
Rev. Dr. William J. Shaw, President of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., since 1999. Dr. Shaw serves as one of the five Presidents of Christian Churches Together in the USA, representing the Racial/Ethnic family of churches.