La Storia

Ultima modifica il Sabato, 09 Giugno 2012

The first idea to create an ecumenical centre for young people raised in 1951 at the First Congress of 1951 the Methodists, Baptists and Waldensians Youth Organizations in Milan. The responsibility of the project was assigned to the Methodist Evangelical Youth Organization. Since 1949, in fact, the young Methodists strongly desired to erect a “Methodist House”.



One year later in Monteluco (in Umbria, close to Spoleto) 69 young people from different countries and different churches started working together on building up their own centre – Ecumene.


The chronicle says about 47 Italians (Italians 33 were Methodists, 9 Waldensians, 1 Baptist, 1 Salvation Army, 3 Catholics) and 22 foreigners (9 Germans, 5 Americans, 2 New Zealanders, 1 English, 1 Scottish 1 from Switzerland, 1 Dutch, 1 from Austria and 1 from Australia).



Their enthusiasm was stopped within few months, when the Mayor of Spoleto was sent to Ecumene by the Prefect of Perugia to the director of the camp to order to stop immediately the construction of the Ecumene. The problem was pressure put on local officials by people from Franciscan movement. And although the whole Protestant world immediately started to protest, the provincial administration of Perugia refused to authorize the estate to be sold to the Methodists.


But there was some kind of disagreement on that subject between the Mayor and the Prefect that allow the young people to hope they would remain in Monteluco. They kept working up to the 2nd October, when the director of the Ecumene announced with sorrow they had to leave Monteluco.



Fortunately, the idea of creating Ecumene did not collapse. Two years later, in 1953, another place was found for the centre. Velletri is only 40 km from Rome in area called Castelli Romani. The construction of the Ecumene started again on June, 15th 1954. And again a large group of young people from different countries and churches started to work with their great enthusiasm. This time they were:


54 Italians,

1 Belgian,

1 French,

10 Germans,

3 British,

1 Lebanese,

3 Netherlanders,

5 Americans,

2 Swedish,

3 Swiss,

1 Turk,

1 person from Yugoslavia.


Their work gave the Ecumene a great start. But the Ecumene gave them also something special they recalled in their letters:


Ecumene is a open reality… something which is always looking new ways, new designs to express what it wants to be more and better. Ecumene is a embody preaching in the word of God… Ecumene is also and first of all an ecumenical reality… Ecumene is a concrete reply to concrete problems of our present time.



I will soon forget the little things like my wounded hands, the American soup, and the killing cheese, but I will never forget the spirit of Ecumene.




In the world there are not only national borders and spiritual frontiers; there is also Christ in whom the all world can find its full sense. This is the most important thing I learnt in our camp in Ecumene.




I will be happy to come back again to Ecumene and to send other Orthodox young people from my Country in this Centre of freedom and love in Jesus Christ, Sun of Justice.




The following summer the Camp was working full time already. And it still does today.


For all year Ecumene works as a Methodist Evangelic centre. Young people come here to study, to experience a community life and find peace in prayer. The Ecumene remains an ecumenical place, open for other denominations' initiatives. It is a perfect place for church meetings, conferences, studies, children, youth and family camps.



Centro Studi Ecumene - Via del Cigliolo, 141 00049 Velletri (Roma) tel. 06 9633310 / 333 4104171 email: Direttore: Elvira Migliaccio