18-January-2002 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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LIST OF THOSE ATTENDING ASSISI PEACE CONFERENCE

VATICAN, (CWNews.com) - The Italian daily newspaper Avvenire has published a list of the religious leaders expected to participate in the January 24 inter-religious observance at Assisi.

The Vatican has not yet released an official list of the participants, explaining that the list will not be considered complete until all those invited have responded. An estimated 300 people are expected to be involved, representing 44 different religious bodies.

Avvenire reported that 33 cardinals are expected, led by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano; the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re; the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Francois-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan; the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, Cardinal Walter Kasper; and Cardinal Etchegaray, who organized the original inter-religious ceremony in Assisi in 1986. Also present will be representatives of the episcopal conferences of Algeria, Angola, the Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Sudan-- countries where inter-religious dialogue is particularly important.

The Orthodox churches of the world will send 11 patriarchs to Assisi, led by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. But no representative of the Moscow patriarchate is expected.

About 50 Islamic leaders will attend, coming from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran, the Philippines, and Jordan. And Jewish rabbis will come from Jerusalem, France, and the United States-- along with Elio Toaff, the former chief rabbi of Rome.

Protestant bodies will be represented by Konrad Kaiser, the secretary-general of the World council of Churches; Anglican Bishop Richard Garrard of Rome; Setri Nyomi of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches; George Freeman of the World Methodist Council; Cecil Robeck of the Pentecostal church; Alvin Jackson of the Disciples of Christ; Theodor Angelou of the European Baptist Federation; and Bert Beach of the Seventh-Day Adventists.

The Vatican also expects representatives of Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and traditional African faiths.

The Italian government will be represented in Assisi by President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

All these participants are expected to be aboard a specially chartered train that will leave Rome for Assisi on the morning of January 24, returning that evening.

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