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Remember Assisi 1993
Confused reports are circulating about the number of inter-religious meetings that have gathered in Assisi. As the October meeting called by Benedict XVI approaches, the press have been referring to it at times as the second meeting of this type, at times as the third one. We want to help clarify this misinformation.

There have already been three interfaith meetings at Assisi convened by the Pope and counting on his presence: the initial gathering in 1986 (see here, here and here), the second one in 1993 turned toward praying for peace in Bosnia, and a third encounter in 2002 (see here and here), Therefore the coming meeting will be the fourth.

In addition to these meetings, there have been other parallel annual inter-faith gatherings approved by the Vatican, but promoted by an Italian lay organization, the Community of Sant'Egidio. This organization is turned toward keeping alive the "spirit of Assisi." For this purpose it promotes inter-religious meetings in different cities of the world. It held two such meetings in Assisi: in 1994 and in 2006. John Paul II and Benedict XVI approved and sent representatives to these meetings with papal messages of encouragement. To see the list of meetings, click here, go to the bottom.

Along with these two types of inter-faith meetings in Assisi, there have been yet others promoted in that city by different branches of the Charismatic movement, such as the one that took place in 2010, reported here.

Therefore, there have been three inter-faith meetings convened by the Pope at which he was present - Assisi 1986, Assisi 1993 and Assisi 2002. The fourth will be in October 2011. We hope these distinctions will help to clarify the confused picture on how many meetings have taken place in Assisi.

The January 9-10, 1993 meeting of Assisi featured on this page was convened by John Paul II to pray for peace among religions in Bosnia. For this purpose he traveled there and prayed together with representatives of many religions. News on this topic can be read here and here.

In the photo above John Paul II is greeting rabbi David Rosen at the 1993 meeting in Assisi; in the first row below he receives an Anglican representative. In the second row, we display at right the first page of the Catholic Herald, UK, January 8, 1993, announcing the meeting.

In the third row are commemorative stamps printed in the Vatican and in Poland celebrating the event (check here and here). The vestments of John Paul II and his assistant displayed in the last stamp at right, can be recognized in the photo in the fourth row, taken at the meeting at Assisi 1993.
Assisi interreligious meeting 1993 02

Posted September 25, 2011

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