Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Peace summit - Assisi 1986

Every human being is ultimately a pilgrim in search of truth and goodness…(if) truth is authentically lived, it opens the path to dialogue with the other, it excludes no one and it commits everyone to be a builder of fraternity and peace’

- the Vatican 2011


In Italy in 1986, ‘a milestone event in inter-religious relations’ occurred when Pope John Paul II convened the Inter-Religious Meeting of Prayer for Peace.   This historic event was held in Assisi - a city intimately associated with Saint Francis, who is famed as a leading proponent of peace and friendship.

Assisi - sourced Bing Images: free photos

Although strongly criticised by some who believed the event inappropriately combined elements from Christian and non-Christian religions,  millions around the world supported the event which was a huge success, with many of the world's religious leaders and representatives, converging to promote inter-religious harmony and understanding, through dialogue and prayer.

Gathering centre stage, Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Rabbis, Japanese, Cambodian and Tibetan Buddhists, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch and the Bishop of Canterbury, the Dalai Lama, African religious leaders and the Pope, joined with thousands of people to pray for world peace.

I believe - as many others will I'm sure, that the summit was powerfully symbolic.   It demonstrated to the world how religious barriers can be put aside for a common good, the need for people to come together for positive change, the universal power of peace and prayer, and how courageous 'enlightened' leadership - religious or otherwise, can best serve humanity 

Events such as this - and others which followed it, also serve as a visual reminder of the ‘plurality of the world of religion’, as well as the unity that can be found at the heart of them all.

You might also like - 'Advocates for peace - the Dalai Lama' in May archives and 'Parliament of the World's Religions' in Pages section

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