Definition of ecumenical in English:



  • 1Representing a number of different Christian churches.

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


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