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World Religions Commitment To Peace

ASSISI, Italy, JAN. 25, 2002.- Following is the final declaration adopted by more than 250 religious leaders who participated on Thursday in the Day of Prayer for Peace. Listed are the names of the representatives who read each of the passages.

--Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople Gathered here in Assisi, we have reflected together on peace, a gift of God and a common good of all mankind. Although we belong to different religious traditions, we affirm that building peace requires loving one´s neighbour in obedience to the Golden Rule: Do to others what you would have them do to you.

With this conviction, we will work tirelessly in the great enterprise of building peace.


--Reverend Konrad Raiser (World Council of Churches)

1. We commit ourselves to proclaiming our firm conviction that violence and terrorism are incompatible with the authentic Spirit of religion, and, as we condemn every recourse to violence and war in the name of God or religion, we commit ourselves to doing everything possible to eliminate the root causes of terrorism.

--Bhai Sahibji Mohinder Singh (Sikh)

2. We commit ourselves to educating people to mutual respect and esteem, in order to help bring about a peaceful and fraternal coexistence between people of different ethnic groups, cultures, and religions.

--Metropolitan Pitirim (of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow)

3. We commit ourselves to fostering the culture of dialogue, so that there will be an increase of understanding and mutual trust between individuals and among peoples, for these are the premises of authentic peace.

--Metropolitan Jovan (of the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate)

4. We commit ourselves to defending the right of everyone to live a decent life in accordance with their own cultural identity, and to form freely a family of their own.

--Sheikh Abdel Salam Abushukhadaem (Muslim)

5. We commit ourselves to frank and patient dialogue, refusing to consider our differences as an insurmountable barrier, but recognizing instead that to encounter the diversity of others can become an opportunity for greater reciprocal understanding.

--Bishop Vasilios (of the Cypriot Orthodox Church)

6. We commit ourselves to forgiving one another for past and present errors and prejudices, and to supporting one another in a common effort both to overcome selfishness and arrogance, hatred and violence, and to learn from the past that peace without justice is no true peace.

--Mr. Chang-Gyou Choi (Confucian)

7. We commit ourselves to taking the side of the poor and the helpless, to speaking out for those who have no voice and to working effectively to change these situations, out of the conviction that no one can be happy alone.

--Hojjatoleslam Ghomi (Muslim)

8. We commit ourselves to taking up the cry of those who refuse to be resigned to violence and evil, and we desire to make every effort possible to offer the men and women of our time real hope for justice and peace.

--Reverend Nichiko Niwano (Buddhist)

9. We commit ourselves to encouraging all efforts to promote friendship between peoples, for we are convinced that, in the absence of solidarity and understanding between peoples, technological progress exposes the word to a growing risk of destruction and death.

--Rabbi Samuel-René Sirat (Judaism)

10. We commit ourselves to urging the leaders of nations to make every effort to create and consolidate, on the national and international levels, a world of solidarity and peace based on justice.

--Doctor Mesach Krisetya (World Mennonite Conference)

We, as persons of different religious traditions, will tirelessly proclaim that peace and justice are inseparable, and that peace in justice is the only path which humanity can take towards a future of hope. In a world with ever more open borders, shrinking distances, and better relations, as a result of a broad network of communications, we are convinced that security, freedom, and peace will never be guaranteed by force but by mutual trust.

May God bless these our resolutions and grant justice and peace to the world.

--John Paul II

Violence never again!
War never again!
Terrorism never again!
In the name of God,
may every religion bring upon the earth justice and peace,
forgiveness and life, love!

Vincenzo Pinto/Reuters The pope and his fellow religious leaders in Assisi yesterday FRIDAY JANUARY 25 2002 World's religious leaders join Pope in prayer for an end to terrorism FROM JOHN PHILLIPS IN ASSISI

BLACK-CLOAKED Muslim sheikhs, shaven-headed Buddhist monks and a kaleidoscope of other religious leaders joined the Pope yesterday to pray that their faiths never be used to justify a repetition of the September 11 terrorist attacks. “We wish to do our part in fending off the dark clouds of terrorism, hatred and armed conflict, which in these past few months have grown particularly ominous on humanity’s horizons,” Pope John Paul II, 81, told the throng of sages, including Sikhs, Bahais, Hindus, Jains and Zoroastrians, gathered in an extraordinary pilgrimage at Assisi, the birthplace of St Francis. About 200 leaders from 12 religions, resplendent in a brilliant display of turbans, caps and veils, travelled with the Pope to the Umbrian hill town from the Vatican’s rarely used railway station aboard a special peace train.

Sheikh al-Azhar Mohammed Tantawi, the Sunni Muslim theologian widely considered the highest doctrinal authority in the Islamic world, said that he and his clerics “join with conviction to the call for peace, immediately and inseparably bound to justice”.

Franciscan monks took down crosses from the walls in a convent near St Francis’s tomb where several guests prayed separately after the initial ceremony with the Pope.

In another unusual gesture, the leaders in Assisi included the Vicar of Moscow, Bishop Pitrim, the highest ranking member of the Russian Orthodox Church to attend any event organised by a Pope.

Vatican sources said that the Pope understood the absence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, who was unable to attend because of a long-standing engagement to consecrate a bishop in America. A personal message was read out by Dr Carey’s representative in Rome, Bishop Richard Garrard.

The Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Edward Egan, said that the event was an attempt by the Pope to bring religious leaders together to “alert the world to the need to put an end to the conflict that is troubling us right now. Coming from New York I am especially concerned.”

Geshe Tashi Tsering, the Buddhist leader, wearing a crimson and sapphire robe, sang a Buddhist chant and said: “May I become at all times, both now and for ever, a protector for those without protection.”

After a frugal lunch, the day ended with an assembly in which representatives of each of the 12 religions present made a commitment to peace.


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