11-September-2012 -- EWTNews Feature |

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Religious gathering inspires peacemaking after Bosnian war

Religious and government officials gathered in Sarajevo Sept. 9-11 for a World Meeting of Peace to foster inter-religious dialogue on the 20th anniversary of the Siege of Sarajevo.

Bosnian Cardinal Vinko Puljic said that he prays that God will "heal all wounds," Vatican Radio reports.

While prayer provided strength in "bearing the horrors of war," there are still "clouds of despair on the horizon" in post-war ethnic divisions and economic hardship.

He said it is important that a "powerful message of peace" rise from Sarajevo for all ethnic and religious groups in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

About 100,000 people died and two million were forced from their homes in the wars that accompanied the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Serbian forces' 43-month siege of Sarajevo resulted in the deaths of 11,500 people, including 600 children.

Cardinal Puljic, citing his own experience in the "brutal" civil war, said that "great disaster" befell the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Catholic Community of Saint'Egidio and the Archdiocese of Vrhbosna have organized the peace gathering with the Serbian Orthodox Church and local Islamic and Jewish communities. the gathering featured panels on peace and inter-religious dialogue.

About 1,000 religious officials and other officials from dozens of countries are attending the event. Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej celebrated a massive Orthodox service in Sarajevo intended to give hope to the city. He later went to Bosnia's largest Catholic Church, the Cathedral of Jesus' Heart, where he celebrated a Mass of reconciliation with Cardinal Puljic.

Patriarch Irinej said he was "glad" to celebrate Mass and visit the war-devastated Sarajevo. He appealed for an end to the decline in the number of Christians in the city and he called for a solution to the "common problems" of Orthodox Christians, Catholics, Muslims and other groups.

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/World.php?id=6131#ixzz26AtW7Ll0

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