An Estonian clergywoman made history in taking part in a joint prayer with Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square, Rome this week.
Anne Burghardt, who is general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), was joined by head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople who visited Estonia last month, and other dignitaries, at the ecumenical prayer meeting.
Burghardt told ERR that the initiative for joint prayer came from the Taizé community in France, a young person's ecumenical movement.
Representatives of nearly 20 different churches and global fellowships were involved in the prayer meeting, she added, which took place a few days ahead of the Roman Catholic Church Synod beginning on Wednesday.
Prayers included those for the success of this synod, which, some commentators say, may lead to the greater involvement of lay members and women in the churches' life.
Of the ecumenical movement, Burghardt noted that from a Catholic perspective, this had emerged after the Second Vatican Council of the early-mid 1960s.
She wore a vestment for the event which had belonged to her husband's grandfather – a Lutheran pastor in Germany who was a member of an anti-Nazi Lutheran and other evangelical churches union, during that regime's grip on the country.
Anne Burghardt was born Anne Liiber in Pärnu, and is married to a German-born Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) pastor, Matthias Burghardt.
She has headed the LWF, which incorporates around 77 million Lutherans worldwide, since 2021. She had been working at LWF headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, for several years prior to that.
At home, her main pastoral area is the Lääne-Harju parish.
Editor: Andrew Whyte