Rome, October 19, 2020
An ecumenical prayer service and interreligious peace ceremony will be held in Rome tomorrow with the participation of representatives of various major world religions, including Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.
The event, dubbed “An Encounter of Prayer for Peace in the Spirit of Assisi” with the theme “No One is Saved Alone—Peace and Fraternity,” is organized by the lay Catholic community Sant’Egidio, reports World Catholic News.
The event takes its inspiration from Pope Francis’ words in his encyclical “Fratelli Tutti”: “The different religions, based on their respect for each human person as a creature called to be a child of God, contribute significantly to building fraternity and defending justice in society.”
“In the Spirit of Assisi” refers to the infamous first “Prayer for Peace” held in Assisi in 1986, in which participated Patriarch Demetrios of Constantinople, Metropolitan Philaret of Kiev, and representatives of the Bulgarian, Romanian, and Czechoslovak Orthodox Churches, together with animists, Bahais, Buddhists, Jains, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Shintoists, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, and others.
The event has been held annually since then, often including Orthodox representatives. For example, in 2002, representatives from 10 Local Orthodox Churches gathered with representatives of world religions for the event.
“We are very happy that this meeting can be held because there was and is a need for words of peace—words that indicate a future for humanity so overwhelmed by this pandemic,” comments Sant’Egidio President Marco Impagliazzo in a promotional video.
The ecumenical prayer service, including participants from various Christian traditions, will be held tomorrow afternoon at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, followed by the interreligious ceremony at Piazza del Campidoglio on Rome’s Capitoline Hill, which will include speeches, the proclamation and delivery of the 2020 Appeal for Peace, the lighting of a peace candle, “and a socially distanced sign of peace,” followed by a minute of silence for the victims of wars and the coronavirus pandemic.
Speeches will be offered by Pope Francis, Italian President Sergio Mattarella, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Sant’Egidio founder Andrea Riccardi, Patriarch Bartholomew, Chief Rabbi of France Haim Korsia, Secretary-General of the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity Mohamed Abdelsalam Abdellatif, and Soto Zen Buddhist Shoten Minegishi, reports Sant’Egidio.