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World Religions in Assisi with Pope Francis


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September 9 2012 17:00 | Skenderjia, Main Hall

Opening Speech of Vinko Puljić

Vinko Puljic

Cardinal, Archbishop of Vrhbosna-Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina


Living together is our future

After the speeches of the honoured guests I would like to express as well my sincerest greetings from the Archdiocese of Vrhbosna, which has its see here in Sarajevo and whose shepherd I have been for many years.

First of all I would like to greet the organisers and all those who have contributed to turn this event taking place in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina into a success. I thank the Community of Sant’Egidio, its founder Andrea Riccardi, who at present is a minister in the Italian government, because he wanted this meeting to take place in Sarajevo.

I greet all the religious leaders representing their communities, who want to sustain through their participation this city and this country with a positive message of peace, which refers both to God and man.

I greet all the representatives of the world of culture and science, offering their capacities to serve peace in this country and the entire world.

I greet all politicians, the heads of state, both national and international, the diplomats; their participation is a sign of their willingness to work for peace.

I greet all the representatives of the media, who are particularly important, because with information based on the truth peace can be built, whereas without truth and justice there is no stable and lasting peace.

I greet all individual participants and all of you together. The presence of each and every one of you is an important expression of the desire for peace and the willingness to build peace, so the rights of every person could be realised and their dignity protected.

Here I would like to quote the words of the Blessed Pope John Paul II, which he was supposed to say in Sarajevo on September 8th, 1994. Since he could not come in person, he sent his words to the  political authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina: ” No, this war may not continue! Sarajevo, a melting pot of different cultures and nations can consider itself as the city of our century. Right here, the First World War started in 1914. We have to return to this city at the end of the twentieth century in the year 1994… War is against man. If one wants to avoid war it is necessary to assure the respect for the fundamental human rights, among which the first place is occupied by the right to life, which every human being has from conception to natural death.” Then he also speaks about other rights, such as religious freedom and freedom of conscience.

As the title of the meeting “Living together is the future” affirms, from this very city we intend to show the whole world that living together is not only possible, but it is also the only future we can wish for humankind and to which we want to commit ourselves. The Spirit of Assisi, which the Community of Sant’Egidio has been nurturing during the past 25 years and which has been confirmed many times by Pope Benedict, breaths from Sarajevo as a wish for peace for the whole world.

If we discover together the principles that we should all respect and incorporate in daily life, we can become builders of peace and a source of hope for tomorrow.

We therefore strongly desire this dimension to emerge from this meeting. This is why we gather in Sarajevo, so everyone on his own and all of us together become builders of a lasting peace, for every man and all peoples.


Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI

Programme in English


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