Definition of ecumenical in English:


(also oecumenical)


  • 1Representing a number of different Christian Churches.

    ‘he was a member of ecumenical committees’
    • ‘Since 1975 the material for the week has been prepared by ecumenical groups in different countries.’
    • ‘Most of the Reformed churches would accept the teachings of the ecumenical councils of the first millennium.’
    • ‘I spent 1978 in Liberia learning firsthand about the ecumenical church of Jesus Christ.’
    • ‘It was the first ecumenical meeting on poverty that helped to lay down the groundwork for future church coalitions.’
    • ‘In Downton, Churches Together staged a march of witness through the village, ending up at the Baptist Church for an ecumenical service.’
    • ‘The Queen marked her Golden Jubilee yesterday with the first-ever ecumenical church service at St George's Chapel, Windsor.’
    • ‘It was part of an ecumenical Christian conference on the Palestinian issue in late February.’
    • ‘The exchange is open to anybody and participants will visit a milk factory, attend an official dinner dance and an ecumenical church service.’
    • ‘It's a really friendly ecumenical church with about equal numbers of students and ‘normal’ people!’
    • ‘He called the first ecumenical church council in 325 to make doctrine uniform throughout the empire.’
    • ‘The WCC is an ecumenical body which represents 337 Protestant churches.’
    • ‘Basic texts for the liturgy were translated by ecumenical committees for use in the various churches.’
    • ‘Nigeria, Ukraine, New Zealand and Germany were among the countries represented by an ecumenical group who stayed in the centre for the New Year.’
    • ‘It is an ecumenical project involving different local churches.’
    • ‘Now it is necessary to call for a broad-based ecumenical council addressing the issue of sexual misconduct in the church.’
    • ‘But the faith of the Church is that when the Church meets in an ecumenical council, it is doing so under the guidance of the Spirit.’
    non-denominational, non-sectarian, universal, catholic, all-embracing, all-inclusive
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Promoting or relating to unity among the world's Christian Churches.
      ‘the ecumenical movement’
      • ‘Sending or lending married pastors to Catholic churches is a generous ecumenical gesture.’
      • ‘Inevitably this debate is important for non-Roman Christians and thus has serious ecumenical implications.’
      • ‘In many churches this ecumenical thrust is being fueled by a counterfeit of the charismatic gifts of the early church.’
      • ‘The Methodist Church has supported ecumenical efforts from its earliest beginnings.’
      • ‘Christian spirituality provides many opportunities for ecumenical sharing.’
      • ‘Down the road in the other direction is L' Arche, an ecumenical Catholic charity that does much good work for mentally challenged adults.’
      • ‘This dictionary is marked by a profound ecumenical sensitivity, especially with regard to Roman Catholics.’
      • ‘An ecumenical spirit inspired Catholics to break down the fences that separated them from people of other religious traditions.’
      • ‘Though they are Presbyterian, they are very ecumenical, especially towards Catholics.’
      • ‘It is an ecumenical problem that affects all churches around the globe.’
      • ‘This is going to be related to our ecumenical commitment.’
      • ‘He wanted to reform the Roman Catholic Church, and he actually had a much more basic ecumenical view of the church.’
      • ‘These different views as to the nature of the church represent the most challenging subject in ecumenical discussion.’
      • ‘This prayer has led churches and Christian traditions into ecumenical endeavors and a resolve to work toward some kind of unity.’
      • ‘A useful benchmark is the remarkable ecumenical venture by the Roman Catholic agency, Aid to the Church in Need.’
      • ‘United prayer meetings, ecumenical fellowship and common worship events blur doctrinal differences for the sake of their particular cause.’
      • ‘Since the early 1960s, many Catholics at all levels of the church have taken an ecumenical turn.’
      • ‘Dunn is a Roman Catholic ecumenical author, who writes for the pluralistic contemporary Christian Church.’
      • ‘Laypeople need to better articulate how they balance being Catholic and being ecumenical.’
      • ‘This is an ecumenical event when musical Christians of different traditions will join in singing God's praise to the best of their ability.’


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘belonging to the universal Church’): via late Latin from Greek oikoumenikos from oikoumenē ‘the (inhabited) earth’.