Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of worldwide scope or applicability; universal.
  • adj. Of or relating to the worldwide Christian church.
  • adj. Concerned with establishing or promoting unity among churches or religions.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • General; universal; specifically, belonging to the entire Christian church.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. concerned with promoting unity among churches or religions
  • adj. of worldwide scope or applicability

Etymologies

From Late Latin oecūmenicus, from Greek oikoumenikos, from (hē) oikoumenē (gē), (the) inhabited (world), feminine present passive participle of oikein, to inhabit, from oikos, house; see weik-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From ecumenic +‎ -al.  (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It is not my use of the term ecumenical - I already admitted that I only used that term out of pure orneryness.

    sbcIMPACT life :: theology :: church :: ministry :: missions :: worship

  • I think most people expect that Mr. Obama will be viewed in ecumenical circles as the most genuine, faithful candidate in the race.

    Obama meets with religious leaders behind closed doors

  • A number of the principles have roots in ecumenical agreements that date back more than 50 years, noted Dr. Kinnamon, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) minister and professor at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Mo.

    Ecumenical "Christian Principles in an Election Year" Offer Criteria for Judging Candidates

  • For a whole generation he has also been a leading figure in ecumenical work.

    The Nobel Peace Prize 1946 - Presentation Speech

  • Pointing to the image of Christ crucified with his arms stretched out, he called the ecumenical body to take on that same "inclusive" image, embracing everybody and sharing God's gifts with all.

    Clerical Whispers

  • For decades, the two churches have held theological discussions on trying to reunite, part of the Vatican's broader, long-term ecumenical effort to unify all Christians who have separated from Rome over the centuries.

    WBAY Action 2 News

  • For decades, the two churches have held theological discussions on trying to reunite, part of the Vatican's broader, long-term ecumenical effort to unify all Christians.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • I’ve been involved in ecumenical activities (different Christian sects working together, promoting Christianity as a whole rather than promoting the United Free Church as being better than the Reformed Free Church …) and interfaith activities (Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems, Jews and Sikhs all discussing the commonalities of faith as well as the difference) … It hasn’t hurt my faith at all.

    Think Progress » War on Christmas Fraud Exposed: The Silent Night “Rewrite” That Wasn’t

  • A sense of shared generic or “Judeo-Christian,” a term invented in this period values began to emerge, and in institutional terms the ecumenical movement gathered steam.

    American Grace

  • Even so-called ecumenical gatherings between modernist birds of a feather end up drowning in a sea of meaningless words.

    Clarification

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Comments

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  • Father Jack used this word in an episode of "Father Ted" when they were being visited by some of their priest friends.

    June 10, 2012

  • From David Eddings, referring to a character named Silk,

    "Silk's depredations were broadly ecumenical".

    January 23, 2008

  • cute :)

    January 22, 2008

  • This word always reminds me of an old joke:

    A Catholic priest and a Protestant minister were in a heated theological argument. After a lull, one (take your pick) said, "Well, we must remember that we worship the same God."

    "Yes," said the other. "You in your way, I in His."

    January 22, 2008

  • "That would be an ecumenical matter!" - Father Jack.

    January 22, 2008

  • A Good Thing when you can get other religions to admit that they've got it wrong and yours has got it right.

    January 21, 2008