The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit reflected on the message from Pope Francis on the World Day of Peace, participating in an inter-religious service held at the St Nicolas de Flue Church in Geneva, along with other religious leaders representing Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist communities in Switzerland.
The service held on 20 January was organized by the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations Office and Other International Organizations in Geneva, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg.
The World Day of Peace is commemorated on 1 January initiated by the Roman Catholic Church.
Speaking to an audience of some two hundred people, Tveit said, “With his message for the World Day of Peace, His Holiness Pope Francis calls all of us to join hands as sisters and brothers of one human family” and “work together for peace and justice in this world that we share.”
At the service, Tveit expressed appreciation for peace initiatives taken by Pope Francis in Syria and the Middle East. He said, “I cannot speak about peace and justice in abstract terms” but emphasized the need to “respond every day in practical and concrete actions to the calls that reach us from churches and others in the crises and conflict-stricken areas of this world.”
Among other religious leaders who shared their reflections on Pope Francis’s message were Dr Tawalama Dammika, representative of Buddhist community in Geneva, Dr Izhak Dayan, Great Rabbi of Geneva, Imam Fabrice Tonnerieux from the Cultural Islamic Foundation of Geneva, Metropolitan Jeremy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Switzerland and Charlotte Kuffer, president of the Protestant Church of Geneva.
The service was opened by Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN and Other International Organizations in Geneva.