Theme : The Courage to Hope – Religion and Cultures in Dialogue
As is known to all, I answered the invitation from Sant’ Egidio´s Community for its annual conference with the theme above representing the World Methodist Council.
In the same way and similarity of last year in Sarajevo, Bosnia, the theme of Peace and Human Rights permeate the different Panels and Lectures at the Conference.
With a significant celebration, the Conference started, on Sunday morning, September 29th at St. Paul’s Cathedral, a place of true work of sacred art, presided and conducted by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar for the Diocese of Rome.
Several churches, institutions and denominations like Lutherans, Anglicans, World Council of Churches, Patriarch of Antioch, Patriarch of Athens and leaders of the Orthodox Church, Jews and Muslims were present or send their Bishops representatives.
A climate of fraternal and sincere seak for peace and justice were among the participants, specially the people from Middle East and Africa.
The 32 panels dealt with different issues such as The Value of life and its Vulnerability through to the theme of the panel which I was one of the speaker “Brotherhood and Unity Christian World”.
In this panel, leaders as Marco Gnavi, from the Sant Egidio Community, Theodoros II, Patriarch of Alexandria and Africa, Gerhard Ubrich Lutheran Bishop and Pavel Pezzi, the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and Russia joined and contributed with deep thoughts.
In the Opening Assembly, we had the presence of the of Sant’ Egidio´s Community founder, Dr. Andrea Riccardi and the President of the Council of Ministers of Italy, Dr. Eurico Lett.
Among many significant moments, we received Pope´s Francisco invitation for an interview that it was a good surprise for us. This special moment, only 35 leaders from different confessions of faith participated. At the end of this encounter, Pope Francisco emphasized that to build a peace in the world, an effort by every Christian must taken and a hope should never be abandon.
The Conference ended on Tuesday, October 02nd, 2013 with a march for peace, on the streets of Rome at dusk of day.
Bishop Paulo Lockmann
World Methodist Council President