“Paths of Peace” in Münster has started – thousands present at the Opening Ceremony. German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived as well as the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and hundreds of representatives of the world religions.
The International Meeting “Paths of Peace” in Münster, promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio in the “Spirit of Assisi” has started. From 2pm the big hall of Conference Centre started to fill with a hundred representatives from the religions, from the world of cultures and institutions from all over the world. At the meeting there is a significant number of participants from all Europe: apart from the 2.500 welcomed at the conference centre, numerous groups of youth and adults all over Europe joined in to follow the event, which resulted in the most visited event for peace in 2017.
Exactly at 4 pm the German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived and was welcomed by the founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio, Andrea Riccardi, and by the local authorities. After a brief encounter with some personalities at the meeting, among them the president of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou and the Grand Imam of Al-Ashar Al-Tayyeb, the Opening Ceremony started.
Among the speakers at the programme were also the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, the environmentalist Jeffrey Sachs, the Greek-orthodox patriarch of Antiochia and all the East, Giovanni X, the Rabbi of Frankfurt Avichai Apel, the president of Rissho Kosei Kai Buddhism and Alba Ruiz de Andrés of the Youth for Peace in Barcelona, who held a testimony. Also was read a message of Pope Francis addressed to the participants of the meeting. A year ago Bergoglio participated in the same kind of meeting in Assisi, by occasion of the anniversary of the great World Peace Meeting in 1986, promoted by Pope John Paul II and repeated every year in different cities in Europe by the Community of Sant’Egidio.