International Encounter for Peace - 2007
At the 2007 International Encounter for Peace in Naples, Italy, the Community of Sant'Egidio augmented its respected annual "Prayer for Peace" gathering with sessions on interreligious dialogue and cultural exchange oriented around the theme "For a World without Violence: Religions and Cultures in Dialogue." Pope Benedict XVI opened the event by welcoming the participants and presiding over a Eucharistic celebration, breaking the previous papal tradition of only sending a written message to the annual gathering. Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople played a major role in the Encounter's proceedings, officially receiving a relic of St. Andrew and an honorary degree from a Neopolitan university. Other prominent interfaith participants included Buddhist monks from Burma and Japan, as well as the Chief Rabbi of Israel and Muslim representatives from Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates.