Conference to Focus on Faith and the Struggle Against Terrorism

Religious Leaders Will Meet in Turkey

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TEHRAN, Iran, JAN. 14, 2002 ( Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders will meet next month to discuss the role of faith in the struggle against terrorism, the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians disclosed during a visit to Iran.

The religious leaders will meet in Istanbul, Turkey, «to discuss the role that religion can play in the struggle against terrorism,» Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I said Sunday. The patriarch added that the leaders will meet again in May, in Athens, Greece.

Patriarch Bartholomew I, whose see is in El Fanar, Turkey, made this disclosure after celebrating Mass for the members of the Orthodox Christian minority in Iran, on the third day of his visit to that Muslim nation.

The patriarch, «first among equals» in the Orthodox Churches, addressed a congregation of 100 people at the Greek Orthodox Church in the center of Tehran, encouraging them to work for peace and harmony among religions.

Bartholomew I later met privately with President Mohammad Khatami.

During his visit to Iran, Patriarch Bartholomew I said that religious leaders must promote dialogue and peaceful coexistence, especially since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

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