Europe's Christian Movements to Gather

First-of-Its-Kind Meeting Planned for Stuttgart

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ROME, MARCH 2, 2004 ( More than 150 Christian movements — Catholic, Orthodox, evangelical and Anglican — will meet May 8 to help add a spiritual dimension to the building of the new Europe.

The meeting is expected to attract at least 22 Catholic bishops, in addition to 22 bishops of Christian denominations. Plans for the event were unveiled today at the headquarters of the Community of Sant’Egidio, a lay Catholic group.

More than 10,000 people are expected to attend the event in Stuttgart, Germany. At least 141 cities will be linked by satellite to join in the event. Some 100 personalities of political, economic and social life are expected to attend.

«For the first time, Catholic, evangelical, Orthodox and Anglican ecclesial movements will meet to show the spiritual riches of Europe which is moving toward unity,» explained Valeria Martano of Sant’Egidio.

Helmut Nicklas, of the Young Men’s Christian Association, said that «Europe cannot exist simply as an economic unit.»

The evangelical representative thanked John Paul II for convoking the Catholic movements in Rome and saying on that occasion that «there are two essential aspects in the Church: the charismatic and the institutional.»

«The charismatic aspect unites us,» Nicklas said.

The May meeting will end with Jesus’ prayer in the Gospel, «That they be one,» recited by 16 bishops of various confessions.

The event will be preceded by a two-day congress, attended by founders and superiors of Christian movements.

Among the speakers for the event are Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement; Andrea Riccardi, founder of Sant’Egidio Community; evangelical pastors Friedrich Aschoff and Ulrich Parzany; and Orthodox Father Heikki Huttunen.

More information is available from or at

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