Santiago ( Agenzia Fides ) - Chile today celebrates 203 years of independence. The Chilean Episcopal Conference has launched a special website for this important anniversary, which will broadcast Ecumenical Te Deum via streaming, to be celebrated in the Cathedral of Santiago today, September 18, at 10:30 am (local time in Chile). "The month of the Nation" is the title of the website where one can read the sermons of the last 5 Archbishops during the annual celebrations of the Te Deum.
As recalled in the note sent to Fides Agency, the Te Deum is a liturgical act of solemn thanksgiving to God with a deeply patriotic character and of strong and great tradition in Chile. Its origins date back to 1811, when General José Miguel Carrera, as the Supreme Director, asked the ecclesiastical authority to celebrate an act of thanksgiving to mark the first anniversary of the national government. The tradition is that it has continued until today. Chile is one of the few countries in the world that celebrates a Te Deum on the occasion of the national holiday; similar celebrations take place in Argentina, Belgium, Guatemala and Peru.
Since 1971, the celebration have had an ecumenical character: the then Archbishop of Santiago, Cardinal Raul Silva Henriquez, in fact invited bishops and pastors of other Christian denominations to participate, complying with a request of the then President Salvador Allende. For this reason, the Te Deum involved, among others, Orthodoxs, Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, Pentecostals and Evangelicals. There are also the representatives of the Jewish and Muslim communities. (CE) ( Agenzia Fides 18/09/2013 )