Holy sites – places for conflict or dialogue (Stiklestad – Trondheim, Norway – 26-28 July 2008).
26-28 July 2008, Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights
Conference held at the invitation of the “Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights”, and the organization “One World in Dialogue” a gathering of religious leaders, academics, politicians and representatives of ngo’s took place in Stiklestad and Trondheim (Norway) in order to discuss the issue “Holy sites – places for conflict or dialogue”.
The aim of this first meeting is to be a first step in a process which can lead to a universally shared ‘Code on Holy Sites’. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was represented by His Grace Bishop Athenagoras of Sinope (Belgium) and the Patriarchate of Serbia by His Grace Bishop Teodosije (Abbot of the Decani Monastery).
Among the other orthodox present was Prof. Dr. Ivan Zhelev Dimitrov, director of religious affairs of the Bulgarian Council of Ministers. Among the organizers was Rev. Kjell Magne Bondevik, former Prime Minister of Norway.
Religious leaders support peace initiative
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
Religious leaders from Europe gave their full support to the process of developing a universal code on holy sites during the annual meeting of the European Council of Religious Leaders (ECRL) in Istanbul 28th of April. ”It is important for the further process to receive such positive feedback from the European religious leaders. It gives hope to the vision of building a universal code for holy places respected by all world religions”, says special adviser at the Oslo Center, Ingrid Vik.
Holy sites are arenas for conflict and disputes in many places in the world today. Acts of vandalism and lack of access to religious shrines have proven to be effective instruments to stir conflicts and divisions between people.
Read more about the project A Universal Code on Holy Sites.
The Oslo Center was invited to the meeting in Istanbul together with its partners One World in Dialogue, Search for Common Ground and Religion of Peace. The aim was to present the Code developed at the conference in Trondheim in 2009 (The Trondheim Code on Holy Sites), and the ongoing process of universalising the Trondheim document.
“Without the necessary backing from religious communities around the world, we will not succeed. Thus we are continuously working to build support for the Code among religious institutions. The European council of religious leaders is one such important meeting point. I am happy to note that their comments and feedback were supportive and positive”, says Ingrid Vik.
Review of the Trondheim Code
After the conference in Trondheim in 2009, the guidelines have been subject of considerable international attention, also outside of Europe and the Middle East. The vision of developing the Trondheim document into a code that includes other regions and religions is not new, but the process first started in 2010 with the establishment of a panel of experts and scholars from key institutions in all world religions.
“The process of developing a Universal Code on holy sites in ongoing”, says Ingrid Vik.
“And it is a challenging task. A prerequisite for success is to build sustainable partnership with relevant institutions locally and internationally and to seek explicit support for the initiative among religious leaders and institutions worldwide”.
The way forwardA complete revised code will mark the beginning of the next stage in the process, namely to seek support for the Code among political leaders in all parts of the world.
During this phase of the project we will work to:
• Conduct a pilot project in Bosnia Herzegovina to test the value and efficiency of Code on Holy Sites in a context marked by deep ethnic and religious tensions.
• Seek endorsement for the revised Universal Code on Holy Sites among the most representative inter-religious forums: Religion of Peace’s Executive Council and its World Council.
• Present the universal guidelines to a relevant UN institution and encourage a process of building a binding international convention in line with the Universal code on Holy Sites.