"The Peace of God in the World"
Towards Peaceful Coexistence and Collaboration Among
the Three Monotheistic Religions: Judaism, Christianity
Grateful to God for this opportunity to come together,
we, the participants of this inter-religious meeting,
have gathered at the invitation of His All Holiness
Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch, and His Excellency
Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission,
in Brussels, Belgium, on 19-20 December 2001. Mindful
of the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11th
in the United States of America, and equally mindful
of the existing conflicts in various regions of the
world, we have considered in a spirit of good will and
sincere disposition the positive contributions of Judaism,
Christianity and Islam to the present condition of humanity.
It is precisely on the basis of our respect for the
diversity of our religions that we engage in this dialogue.
Based on these discussions, we therefore strive to fulfill
our common responsibility to proclaim together "The
Peace of God in the World" as embodied within the
teachings of our respective religions.
The will of God is for the peace of heaven to reign
on earth. The peace of God is not the mere absence of
war; it is the gift of abundant life. There is indeed
an immediate and inseparable connection between peace
and justice. Thus we pray constantly for peace to prevail
in the world and for peaceful living together among
the faithful of all religions in our modern, multicultural,
and multi-ethnic global society.
Recognizing that, in the history of humankind, crimes
have been committed by members of religious communities,
we express our regret and repentance. We nevertheless
affirm that extremists do not reflect the teachings
of these religions, and therefore religious beliefs
are not responsible for the acts of adherents which
are committed either by transgression or by misinterpretation.
This is why we reaffirm the statement of the 1992 Berne
Declaration and the 1994 Bosphorus Declaration that
"a crime committed in the name of religion is a
crime against religion."
One major role of religion is to bring the peace of
God into the world on a local and global level. It is
the responsibility of religious leaders to prevent religious
fervor from being used for purposes that are alien to
A fundamental common element of our monotheistic religions
is faith and confidence in the good, human-loving, compassionate
and merciful God. The offer of God's love is open to
all human beings for free acceptance and without constraint,
regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, or gender.
The response to God's invitation by the believer is
achieved through faith, which is expressed through prayer,
love, good works, respect for the other, and in contributing
to a just society and social order. Indeed, the essence
of each religion is manifested best by those who are
pure of heart.
All of our religions consider justice and peace as gifts
and blessings from God, and as duties of every human
being to one another. None of them approves of violence,
terrorism or ill-treatment of human beings. All of them
disapprove of religious justification of violent and
inhuman actions, which do not conform to the spirit
of peace and justice, of peaceful cooperation and of
respect for the dignity of the human person.
view of these truths:
We emphasize the need to address causes of local and
regional tensions, especially in the developing world.
Injustices do exist, and we respect the efforts of those
who strive to redress them. Nevertheless, this is not
a justification for evil that would destroy innocent
human life. Hence the call, in all of our religions,
is to bring peace with freedom, justice, and human rights.
We unanimously reject the assumption that religion contributes
to an inevitable clash of civilizations. On the contrary
we affirm the constructive and instructive role of religion
in the dialogue among civilizations.
We urge those who shape public opinion to avoid putting
at risk the good relations and peaceful cooperation
of all people through the projection of extremist religious
views as representative of authentic religious belief.
Rejecting all forms of discrimination, we support the
principles of mutual respect, reciprocity, human rights,
religious freedom, peaceful coexistence, and multi-religious
We appeal to all of the leaders of the peoples of the
world to make every effort toward the peaceful resolution
of conflicts. In the spirit of peaceful coexistence,
we call for an end to the violence in the Middle East
and for a return to the peace process. We therefore
pray that wherever there are clashes, people will come
to enjoy peace with justice. Our conviction is that
all moral, political, and financial resources should
be used to improve the integral development of all human
beings and nations.
In solidarity, and sustained by our respective spiritual
resources, we commit ourselves to cooperate in efforts
that lead to peace in the world. To this end, we address
a joint appeal to all men and women of goodwill in all
walks of life, and particularly to those whose religious
and political positions carry the responsibility to
work for the benefit of the common good, to be convinced
of this call to peaceful collaboration.
In unity, solidarity, and love, with the prayer that
our efforts will lead to "The Peace of God in the
World," we commit ourselves and call upon our respective
To engage educators, members of the media, policy-makers,
and other individuals, as well as institutions in civil
society, in order to enhance understanding of religious
communities and their beliefs, and to familiarize them
with these communities' respective historical, cultural,
and religious heritages worldwide. With specific regard
to education, this calls for the elimination from textbooks
of prejudicial and discriminatory statements or references
concerning religions, cultures, and ethnic groups.
To support ongoing and new inter-religious and cross-cultural
initiatives, including youth initiatives, in as many
regions as possible throughout the world. Mindful that
discriminatory behavior is learned rather than innate,
we commit ourselves to educating our spiritual leaders
and faithful in the ways of peace, mutual respect, and
To continue our dialogue and encourage all efforts to
promote collaboration among our three religions, as
manifested by the participants of this meeting.
To foster communication networks that promote the exchange
of views and ideas on a regular basis.