World Council of Churches General Secretary, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, has welcomed the message from Pope Francis for the World Day of Peace at the beginning of the year.
The ecumenical leaders was 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 2014 was organised by the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations Office and Other International Organisations in Geneva, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg.
Speaking to an audience of some two hundred people, Dr 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, Dr 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 emphasised 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 Organisations in Geneva.
* Message of Pope Francis for World Day of Peace: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/messages/peace/documents/pap...
* WCC General Secretary’s reflections at the inter-religious service in Geneva: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/general-secretary/speech...