Liturgy Institute London

For a detailed and peaceful study of Liturgy

Liturgy and Ecumenism (and World Religions)

Photo of James LeachmanPage in  development

IL: L716; PIL:94121
KULeuven: B-KUL-A05F0A 4 study points

Taught by: James Leachman with Geert Leenknegt


At the end of the course the students will be able to:

i. Describe a number of examples of growing divisions in the christian community in history with the associated liturgical discontinuities and continuities.

ii. Describe a number of efforts at promoting the reconciliation of christian communities in the official documents of the Catholic church and of another church.

iii. Analyse specific examples of bilateral and multilateral Christian conversations and ecumenical projects such as BEM, ARCIC.

iv. Evaluate collaboration in worship today in a particular country or between two religious communities.

v. Explain the role of the liturgy in promoting mutual understanding between separated religious communities or Christian communions.

Photo of Geert LeenknegtStudents enrolling for credit at KU Leuven:

This course is taught at Ealing Abbey, London from 10 to 31 July 2020 for academic year 2020-2021. This course begins well before its course description is first posted on the KU Leuven web-site. To enquire please write to: il AT liturgyinstitute DOT org. After successfully completing this course at Ealing, you may thereafter enrol for this course at KU Leuven to receive KU Leuven study points / ECTS credits.

Dates: 20-31 July (Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 July are free days)

Hours: 09.30-12.30 (including a 24 minute break)

The course anticipates the student will spend 60 hours in personal reading and study.


Location: Institutum Liturgicum London (at Ealing Abbey)
74 Castlebar Road Ealing London, W5 2DD, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8862 2156 Fax: +44 (0)20 8862 2133
For further details or to register contact the Centre at:
E-mail:  il AT liturgyinstitute DOT org

KU Leuven awards 4 study points to this graduate course.
This course fulfils the required elective course for the award in Liturgical Studies offered by the Institutum Liturgicum.

Previous knowledge

It is recommended that students have a general familiarity with the Bible and the history of western civilization in the Christian period and, in particular, with the various liturgical celebrations of the Catholic or another Church in order to understand the general context of these events and celebrations.


This course addresses not only the historical data and expressions of efforts to promote the reconciliation of churches, but also how to interpret the different understandings of the interplay between liturgy and ecumenism. Through participation, reflection and private study students prepare for an oral presentation during the last encounter. The course focuses on the following elements:

i. a survey of historical events leading to the different breaks in communion between different Christian communities,

ii. a comparative critical study of the growing separation of theology, discipline and practice in at least two named churches, including the catholic church,

iii. a synthetic-interdisciplinary discussion of ways for reconciling Christian communities,

iv. a final proposal presenting the role of the liturgy in increasing hope and mutual trust, in motivating changed attitudes and practice and in promoting the eventual reconciliation of two named churches.

Course Material

The course materials are limited to the following bibliography and handouts provided in class.
♦ Joris Geldhof (2018) Liturgy and Secularism: Beyond the Divide, Chapter 1: “Liturgy, Modernity and Secularization”; Chapter 2: “Liturgy, Ideology and Politics”, Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press Academic, 2018, 1-26,27-48.

♦ W. Cardinal Kasper (2004) Sacrament of Unity: The Eucharist and the Church, tr. B.A. Mitchell (Herder & Herder), The Crossroad Publishing Company New York 2004.

Gordon W. Lathrop (2014) “Every Foreign Country a Homeland, Every Homeland a Foreign Country.” in Worship and Culture: Foreign Country or Homeland? ed. Glaucia Vasconcelos Wilkey,  Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 10-25.

♦Gordon W. Lathrop (2005) “Ecumenical Convergences” in The Oxford History of Christian Worship. Oxford: OUP, 721-755.

Ritual Particiation and Interreligious Dialogue, (2016) (eds) Marianne Moeyaertand Joris Geldhof, Bloomsbury Academic; Reprint.

♦Frank C. Senn (2017). Embodied Liturgy: Lessons in Christian Ritual, Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. (ordered 29 Aug 2019)

♦ PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE PROMOTION OF CHRISTIAN UNITY, Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism,AAS85 (1995) 1039-1119, Città del Vaticano: LEV 1993.

 Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement, ed. G. Wainwright, J.S. Pobee, J.M. Bonino, N. Lossky, P. Webb, T.F. Stransky, Genève: WCC Publications, 22002.

♦ Students with a personal computer, with a LAN cable and a UK plug-in adapter will benefit more readily from online resources.


Course activities

♦ group study and discussion of the recommended literature and liturgical and cultural records
♦ participate in class activities
♦ identify some of the theological issues in both the separation and the reconciliation of Christian churches
♦ discuss some of the major issues concerning the role of the liturgy in promoting ecumenical understanding
♦ identify some of the major issues in a named country or context.


Evaluation description

Examination type: class attendance and participation (20%) oral (80%); with written preparation..

When: the oral exam is conducted during the final session; and written preparation comprises preparatory notes handed in at the beginning of the oral exam.

Explanation: Students choose and prepare one model of liturgical spirituality in church history for more detailed study and are able to compare other understandings of liturgical spirituality for a more synthetic and reflective response. At the beginning of the oral exam students hand in one copy of their written notes. The function of the written preparation is to support the student in his or her oral presentation and discussion, and then is kept on file for one year. Students may use their prepared written notes in the exam, but the full mark is based on the student’s oral presentation of their reflection to the instructor and their discussion.

Criteria for evaluation: There are two questions in the final oral exam. The first question asks for a descriptive-analytical response concerning the characteristics of one break in full communion in church history and one historical example of efforts to restore full communion, both selected by the student. The second question asks for a synthetic-applied response covering the major issues concerning the role of the liturgy in the restoration of communion since the Second Vatican Council. The discussion is intended to help the student provide a satisfactory answer.

Second opportunity to sit the exam: Because this is an intensive summer course, the opportunity for a second exam is by appointment and depends upon the availability of the instructor.

Note: Students must be over 18 years of age.

This course has been designed to be taken alone or in conjunction with L702 Liturgy in the WestHistory and Context.

Students wishing to pursue our programme of studies are encouraged to begin with the two courses L701 Liturgical Research Seminar and L702 Liturgy in the West: History and Context before progressing to other courses.

If students enrol in two concurrent courses, they may wish to prepare for the intensive schedule by reading suggested texts before the course begins.

The instructor will arrange with the students to be available regularly for some time in the Study Centre and is also available by appointment.

Dates: 2016, Block I

20-24 July (Monday to Friday; Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 July are free days)
27 – 31 (Monday to Friday)


Non residential day students are welcome.

Limited accommodation is available through Ealing Abbey house for guests or other religious houses or nearby.

Residential students may arrange to arrive on Saturday 18 or Sunday 19 July or before the lecture begins at 9.30 on Monday 20 July 2020.

Residential students may arrange to depart depart after the lecture ends at 12.30 on Friday 31 July or on Saturday 1 August 2020.

Additional information from KU Leuven course web-site

 Academic year: 2020−2021

 Study points: 4

 Language: English

 Difficulty: Master’s level-Intermediate

 Duration: 26.0 hours

 Periodicity: Taught biennially in Block I

 POC: POC Theology and Religious Studies


This course is included in

Research Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion (120 ECTS)

Master of Theology and Religious Studies Study Abroad Programme in European Culture and Society (PECS).

A link to the course descriptor at KU Leuven will be available around 15 July, after the course is already in progress.

 ©  James Leachman 2019, updated on 29 August  2019  by DMcC