Common Life & Worship
"We need to insist on an ecumenical life style, which means sharing in the prayers and common life of the Institute. "
- Donald Nicholl, Tantur Rector, 1981-1984.
A focus of the daily life at Tantur is the pursuit of personal and communal prayer. Guests and program participants generally include Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Orthodox and Protestants of various traditions. Within this diversity, community is created by living, studying and praying together. Daily evening prayer, led by participants, reflects our common faith in Jesus Christ and is designed to include everyone. However, we also recognize the importance of providing the opportunity for our residents to celebrate the Eucharist according to their own traditions and the Tantur Chapel is available for this purpose.
From the inception of Tantur in 1972, the issue of Eucharistic intercommunion has always been the flashpoint of practical theological debate and division. Some traditions practice complete openness to others outside of their specific tradition, and see the sharing of the Eucharist as the starting point for Christian unity. Others understand Eucharistic communion as the goal and final expression of achieved unity of faith and doctrine and therefore do not practice Eucharistic hospitality to anyone outside of their specific tradition. It was as a result of these differences that led Tantur some twenty plus years ago to move its formal daily prayer to evening prayer according to the varied traditions of the person assigned to lead prayer on any given day.
There are no Sunday morning services at Tantur. On Sundays we encourage our guests and program participants to worship with local Christians. This provides the opportunity to not only worship with Palestinian Christians of one’s own tradition, but of other traditions as well. Catholics may enjoy a Melkite service, Orthodox may worship in Arabic one Sunday and Romanian the next. Many enjoy visiting a very dynamic Lutheran community in Bethlehem. This experience of entering into the life of local Christians, becoming one with them in worship, and accepting their hospitality is an integral element in the experience of life at Tantur.
Chapel and Prayer Room
Our institute includes the first known purpose-built interdenominational Christian chapel in the city of Jerusalem. It is a spacious, simple white-walled chapel that includes a sacristy, an altar hewn from a single boulder of Jerusalem stone, and an adjacent sacristy along with a service preparation room which collectively include the necessary liturgical supplies for most Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant services. Program participants, residents, local Jerusalemites and even some faith communities often use the chapel for denomination-specific services as well as joining in our regular evening prayer services. We also have two prayer rooms adjacent to the chapel that offer more quiet and seclusion if desired.
Outside Christian worship
For most religious services in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and all over the Holy Land please click here.