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     Home > Ecumenism >  2013-06-20 16:12:50
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Building bridges in Belgrade...



(Vatican Radio) We bring you an interview with the Chairman of the 'Ecclesiological Investigations International Research Network' Gerard Mannion, who speaks to Philippa Hitchen about the themes relating to a Conference taking place this week in the Serbian capital. One which brings together a network of theologians and ecumenical experts from countries around the globe to discuss the themes of "Religion, authority and the state: from Constantine to the secular and beyond’.
The Conference is taking place in Serbia where the Emperor Constantine the Great, the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity was born and where the Edict of Milan which granted religious freedom to followers of all faiths was drawn up in the year 313, exactly 17 centuries ago.
But as Philippa Hitchen discovers in this interview the Conference broadens out to the discussion of current issues of a political, ecumenical and inter-faith dimension, as well as to the question of authority within faith communities from an inter-faith perspective. As Gerard Mannion says: …” the ‘Ecclesiological Investigations Group’ has tried to bring its annual events to different parts of the globe and to different communities.And for a long time now we’ve wanted to come to an area that is predominantly Orthodox and to involve as much of the Orthodox perspective as we could. And so Belgrade also helped us to cover those issues too and we’re delighted with the Orthodox participation and especially that the Patriarch, His Holiness Irinej opened the conference formally for us ..”
Also in this interview, reference is made to the legacy in the region of the Balkans conflict highlighting how the wounds and the divisions emanating from what took place there in recent decades as well as down the centuries run deep: ”..one of the key aims of our group and one of the reasons we seek to put on these events on a regular basis is to bring people together to engage in dialogue and not to avoid the difficult questions too, not to avoid looking at the past in order to try to build bridges for the future. “…
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