Ecumenical movement, modern movement among the Christian churches to encourage greater cooperation and eventual unity. Organizations such as the International Missionary Council and the Life and Work and the Faith and Order conferences studied the churches' doctrinal differences. But substantial progress was not made until 1948, when representatives of 147 world churches agreed to form the World Council of Churches. Most Protestant Orthodox churches have since joined the council, and the Roman Catholic Church, though not a member, participates in some joint studies.
See also: Christianity.