The Chapel for Europe (also called the Chapel of the Resurrection) is located in the heart of the European Quarter, between the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee.

The Chapel is a multicultural and ecumenical space for prayer and celebration, but also a place of reflection and exchange for all those who work in the European institutions, for all interested in the European project or for those simply passing through the European Quarter.

Originating as a Catholic project, the Chapel has had an ecumenical function since the very beginning, welcoming Christians from a wide range of denominations – Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Anglicans, Evangelicals – for worship, joint events and prayer.

The events and services are offered in several languages, but mainly in English and French.

The Society of Jesus holds overall responsibility for the Chapel, together with the other Christian Churches that use the facilities.

The mission of the Chapel for Europe is the based on ethical values inspired by the Gospel, solidarity and in search of the common good.

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20th Anniversary of the Chapel for Europe in the service of European Christians. Starting  September 22, we began celebrating the Chapel’s 20th anniversary. There was an ecumenical thanksgiving celebration, streamed online, presided by the religious Heads in Belgium of the Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Catholic Churches. There was a big Garden Party, a lovely time and an opportunity for many to meet in person after a year and a half of virtual meetings. There will be a series of five concerts “Festival Chapel for Europe” in the following weeks. There will be conferences on European common good and on the interfaith openness.  To give thanks for our past. To share the joy of the present time. To reflect together on the years to come. Dream At the beginning there was a dream. A dream of a Europe which, according to Robert Schuman, should be more than a simple economic and technical project, which should have a “soul”. And a dream of a place for spiritual nourishment for the thousands of staff working each day for the European institutions in Brussels. And the result? The reconstruction – just between the Parliament and the European Commission – of a little Chapel, with history dating back to the 15th Century; a multicultural, ecumenical place of prayer and celebration, of reflection and dialogue. Since its inauguration, it has had an ecumenical profile, being run and supported by EU staff, Jesuits, various Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic Churches and even other organisations. A true miracle of “unity in diversity”. Welcome to the Chapel for Europe! Passion Over time, the Chapel gained recognition with a diverse program offering something for all tastes: from multiple prayer groups, spiritual workshops and retreats, to a variety of celebrations, which are often ecumenical. However, the Chapel is not only a place of prayer – it also offers a space for reflection and dialogue on pertinent European issues, promoting a Christian perspective via its conferences, movie nights, exhibitions and workshops. Since the start of the pandemic, in line with sanitary measures in place and the fact that most EU staff were working from home, most of the Chapel’s events have become virtual or hybrid, with a limited number of people being welcomed in the Chapel, and events simultaneously being broadcast online via Zoom, FB Live or YouTube. In this way, the Chapel continued to support its community, showing that even the coronavirus cannot suppress our passion for life and for Europe. Hope The Chapel has been ecumenical since its very beginning, however over the past few years, and particularly following the Brussels terror attacks in 2016, it has become clear that ecumenism is not enough, and that in Brussels there is ever more need for inter-religious events. This is why the Chapel, in collaboration with other partners, cofounded the interreligious network “HOPE” (Homes of Presence and Encounter) in Brussels. In such a way, the interreligious dimension becomes more and more significant among all the Chapel’s activities.
Interreligious dialogue in the Chapel for Europe in Brussels People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should get to know one another. (Coran, al-Hujurat 49:13) “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18) “First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:24) Actually the dream started already with the first Sunday of Advent, the day we sent the first of 7 interreligious video clips, for every Sunday of Advent – Christmas – Epiphany period, with readings, sharing and musical moments, inviting to meditations of about 15 min. This was the fruit of a collaboration between InTouch Association (fostering intercultural dialogue in Brussels), Kerkebeek Brussels Pastoral Unit (local Church), the Chapel for Europe and our interreligious friends. The particularity of this project consisted in the fact that the Christian message was accompanied by a corresponding message from other religions: Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, allowing peoples of different cultures to “rediscover” each other. A long expected virtual evening Then at the end of January, just after the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and before the World Interfaith Harmony Week, some days before the new established UN International Day of Human Fraternity (4 February 2021), inspired by the Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb as well as by the Encyclical "Fratelli Tutti" (3 October 2020), we organized together a long expected Virtual Evening: “A Bishop, a Rabbi and an Imam Dream Together of a Fraternal Society”, with Jean-Pierre Delville, bishop of Liege, Rabbi Armand Benizri from the Sephardic Jewish Community in Brussels and Imam Jamal Habbachich from Molenbeek - the “Muslim” district of Brussels. An emotional journey To get to know our guests better, they took us on an emotional journey into their past and into their families, recalling some personal moments which shaped today their view of fraternity. Then, speaking about religions, everyone of the panellists commented some key quotations concerning fraternity from his own religion and presented some elements that spoke to them in the other religions.  Finally, the time came for an exchange with the public – more than 150 people online. The questions, some of them not easy at all concerned among others things links between religion and politics, the sources of extremism and how to prevent them, the added value of religions while promoting fraternity or the place of women in religious communities. A culture of dialogue Even if not all the questions could be fully answered (now we have enough material for a big follow-up conference), the speakers confirmed that they and their religious communities are already on the way to developing a culture of dialogue within wider society and that interreligious “get together”, mutual respect and solidarity are possible. by Krystian Sowa S.J., Chapel for Europe, Brussels
The Corona Crisis - A crossroads for the European Union? After the lockdown caused by the pandemic, we are in a slow transition towards what we hope will be a normal life. At the same time, we start to reflect on what has just happened. What long-term lessons can we draw from the Corona crisis? What will be the priorities of the post-Covid society? How is the crisis being managed globally at the EU level? What are the solutions? What is the vision? These and other questions were discussed at the first “Virtual Café” organised in June by the Chapel for Europe as a Zoom webinar, also streamed on Facebook live. Mr Herman Van Rompuy (former Belgian Prime Minister and the first President of the European Council) was in dialogue with Victoria Martín de la Torre (spokesperson at the European Parliament, journalist and author of the acclaimed book “Europe, a Leap Into the Unknown”) and Fr Martin Maier sj (Secretary for European Affairs at the Jesuit European Social Centre) on the subject of “Corona Crisis – A Crossroads For The European Union?”. There were no boring papers read, no abstract slides, just a lively discussion from the very beginning and very personal testimonies, followed by an exchange (questions and answers) with the large audience that joined us online, much beyond the physical borders of the European Quarter in Brussels. Reflecting on what matters This pandemic has shaken our everyday lives, our foundations, both at the personal and at the social level. The first shock was a confrontation with our own vulnerability and the loneliness. During the lockdown we were longing for togetherness, but at the same time others could be perceived as a threat – as potential carriers of infection. The second shock was a confrontation with our powerlessness. We thought that we were living in a quite well organised, rational and efficient world, and then our everyday life suddenly changed at very short notice. This experience of vulnerability, powerlessness and loneliness could inspire a reflection about what really matters in life and maybe redefine the priorities – something that would not have come easily in our busy daily routine. “My world may have flipped, but my priorities are falling back into order”: wise words from an unknown older man, quoted during the discussion, apply here perfectly. Solidarity as a European priority  At the EU level, our priority should be solidarity. We are all in the same boat, and we have to help each other. Even if at the beginning Italy and Spain were left alone, after some weeks the EU was regaining solidarity and providing rescue packages; let’s hope that the EU countries can agree on the details. This solidarity should go beyond the tribal solidarity within one group or nation. It should be a search for the common good, which is much more than only the common part of all particular national interests. Even if in the real world it is quite difficult to reach such a perspective – the politicians are not saints – there is always a compromise between particular and general interests, between European and national priorities. Making the world a better place There was something very special and unique during the pandemic: the spontaneous thankfulness to all these anonymous people who were taking risks and laying down their lives in the service of others. Hundreds of thousands of people were applauding doctors, nurses, bus drivers and other “key workers”. In a confrontation with fear (I could be infected and I could die), we need hope. Those people gave us hope. They bore witnesses to the fact that life is stronger than death. However “hope” is not only a noun, not only something I can receive. Hope is also a verb, and it calls to action! It calls us to contribute, to make the world a better place. What can be done at the EU level? Continuous improvement of the three main pillars of the “European model”: political democracy, the social market economy, and peace. Also proposing high and ambitious standards, like the recent European Green Deal which may be the biggest challenge ever for the EU economy. The secret of making people come together Among all the questions put to our distinguished guests by the online audience after the initial discussion, there was one quite personal question addressed to Mr Herman Van Rompuy by a young trainee at the European Commission: “I have heard that one of your biggest strengths as President of the European Council was your ability to negotiate, and make opposite sides if not join forces then at least reach an agreement. What is your secret in making people come together?” Responding, Mr Van Rompuy emphasised three essential talents: First of all, listen to people very carefully in order to understand what is important for them. Second, be creative in proposing solutions “outside the box” which can overcome conflicts. Finally, be a trustworthy person – because it is only in this way that one can convince others to reach agreement. We were together online for almost two hours sharing insights and perspectives about post-Covid Europe and a post-Covid society in this lively and inspiring inaugural edition of our Virtual Café.
Ecumenical Discussion on Synodality at the Chapel for Europe. How is the Church best to be governed, both in organization and in doctrine? From the beginning of Christianity, this has been a question. The entire congregation of Jerusalem deliberated whether Christian gentiles should be obliged to observe the Mosaic Law. “Then the apostles and the elders, with the consent of the whole church, decided”, states Acts 15:22. The momentum of the Second Vatican Council made many lay people aware of their responsibilities and the possibility of participation in the life of the Church. In March 2018, the International Theological Commission of the Holy See published a text on synodality (community involvement in decision-making) in the life and mission of the Church. Pope Francis often uses the image of the path and invites us to move forward together, both within the Church and in society. That’s why, within the framework of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Chapel for Europe organized in January the ecumenical conference “WALKING TOGETHER: COMMON DECISION MAKING IN OUR CHURCHES," contributing through this conversation to the current and exciting discussion on the synodality in the Church. Rev Dr Sorin Selaru, Director of the Representation of the Romanian Orthodox Church to the EU - Fr. Krystian Sowa SJ, Director Chapel for Europe - Rev Laurence Flachon, Pastor Eglise du Musee Bruxelles (Protestant Church) - Prof. Dr Annemarie C. Mayer, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven - Mgr Guy Harpigny, Bishop of Tournai (Catholic Church) - Ven Dr Paul Vrolijk, Senior Chaplain Pro-Cathedral Holy Trinity Brussels (Anglican Church) The Chapel is uniquely situated in this discussion, being able to bring together representatives of the Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican Churches in Brussels, who shared their thoughts about the foundations of synodality in their Church, as well as the accompanying joys and challenges. For example, while in the Catholic Church there is often a primacy and priority of universality over the local, how to make the Catholic Church better listen to the local voices? From the other side, how to enhance the capacity of the non-Catholic churches to go beyond the local and national? Furthermore, how to prevent synods turning into just “talk shops,” slow on action and full of political fights. There was of course no solution valid for all. However all the representatives of different Churches agreed that the well-organized Synod can be a wonderful time of fellowship, encouraging people to get involved in the Church, constructive in reflection and decision making, and it is the best way for the Churches to move forward. And on the way, the Churches can learn a lot from each other.
The Chapel for Europe plays a crucial role close in the headquarters of the European institutions wrote one of the two most popular daily newspapers in Belgium, La Libre Belgique, after our interreligious conference: Jews, Muslims, Christians: looking for what united us, at the end of February.    You may know the Chapel for Europe as an ecumenical space. Now the Chapel becomes more and more interreligious. This new series of interreligious events, developed  together with partners, includes conferences, expositions and simple get togethers to pray or to share. It is a response  to the needs of the multicultural and multiconfessional society in Brussels. The need to live together reconciled and in peace and to grow in humanity, emerges here more than ever. Getting to know each other better, practicing spiritual hospitality and at the same time deepening one’s own faith and engaging in the service of peace and reconciliation is the best way to do respond to this need. Another new and successful project which was promoted among others by the French speaking Christian radio station RCF, is a series of workshops called Spirituality for Busy People. It responds to the needs of the young European professionals to live their faith in their quite busy everyday life.   The half-day workshops, lead by a professional consultant/coach together with a Jesuit, focus on personal, professional and spiritual development and are practice oriented. A large part of the workshop is spend in personal exercises, time for reflection and prayer,  peer-exchange and a group sharing. The first five pilot workshops cover topics: prayer, discernment, leadership, time management and conflict resolution. Some tools from (not only) Jesuit spirituality are proposed in order to improve one’s life and to be a better leader of oneself and of others.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Brussels. When I started my theology studies, I thought that Jesus was a Roman Catholic. Later, looking at his disciples, I had to admit that Simon the Zealot would probably never have joined any group which used the word “Roman” as its description… Now, more seriously, welcome to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity! It has already become a tradition that every year at the end of January, just a few days before a big Ecumenical Prayer Vigil in the centre of Brussels, the Chapel for Europe organises a high-level ecumenical conference on inter-confessional and European issues. This year, on the evening of Tuesday 22 January, we were “Looking for the Soul of Europe” together with the Anglican Bishop in Europe Robert Innes as a keynote speaker and some senior representatives of the Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic Churches. Can Christianity bring new life to 21st century Europe? What are the most important challenges? What are the best practices of different Christian confessions? Finally, what can we do together? At a time when Europe is facing different challenges, and when “the next European parliamentary elections will determine not just the form of the European Union but whether there is a European Union” (from the dialogue of the First Vice President of the EU Commission, Frans Timmermans, with religious leaders) the voice of the Churches is extremely important. The audience at the Chapel was able to enjoy the diversity of approaches of different Churches, proposing  the celebration of Jesus Christ together on the one hand and social involvement together on the other hand. However, whatever the approach was, everyone agreed that the Churches should provide a space for people to get together, welcoming poor and strangers, a space where people from different political options could “disagree well” – as seems to be important in the case of Brexit. At the same time, the Churches should challenge those who abuse the Bible to justify nationalistic or xenophobic approaches. This was also confirmed by the homily of Pastor Steven Fuite, President of the United Protestant Church of Belgium, during the big Ecumenical Prayer Vigil, organised by Comité Interecclésial de Bruxelles, two evenings later on Thursday 24 January: “Many describe the Western Christian identity as ‘us against them’ and use this ‘identity’ as an instrument of European, nationalist or regionalist egoism, or even xenophobia and racism. This is totally the opposite to the true identity of European culture and to Christianity which is an identity of attention for all, personal freedom, fraternity and hospitality”.