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Pope to host Assisi faith peace summit

06 January 2011

by a staff reporter

POPE Benedict XVI is to hold a peace summit with heads of Chris­tian Churches and other faiths to discuss how to promote world peace.

The summit will be held in Assisi, the birthplace of St Francis, in October this year, on the 25th an­niversary of a similar gathering organ­ised by Pope John Paul II.

Pope Benedict told thousands listening at St Peter’s in Rome, on New Year’s Day, that the aim of the summit would be “solemnly to renew the effort of those with faith, of all religions, to live their faith as a service for the cause of peace”.

His announcement came just hours after an attack on a Coptic church in Alexandria, in Egypt, in which 23 people were killed.

“Facing the threatening tensions of the moment, especially discrim­ination, injustices, and religious intolerance, which today strike Christians in a particular way, once again I make a pressing appeal not to give in to discouragement and resig­na­tion,” he said.

The summit would also “honour the memory of the historical event promoted by my predecessor”, the Pope said. Pope John Paul’s gathering was attended by Jewish and Muslim leaders, as well as the Dalai Lama and the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Robert Runcie.

Pope Benedict has repeatedly de­nounced violence against Christians, particularly in the Middle East. In a text released in advance of New Year’s Day, which was kept as a World Day of Peace, he said that religious freedom was the path to peace.

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