That’s a wrap for the Festival of Religions in Florence, which was largely successful; more than 4,100 people attended it outnumbering last year’s event. About 60 speakers weave debates together in 18 gatherings. The main topic was #andiamoltre (TN #letsgobeyond); the first edition of the Festival focused on the encounter-clash and the differences of beliefs, philosophies and confessions because differences make it possible to understand the complex treasure of reality; with this second edition, a further step was taken. Plurality is a virtue; it cannot be an excuse to destroy the other. Wars in the name of God cannot not be tolerated anymore, no more beheadings, genocides and slashes hidden behind religion. “It is high time we go beyond, be aware of plurality of existence and recognize our brother in those standing in front of us. Beyond zealotry, beyond mortification of life, beyond races, beyond ideas and beyond manhood.
The last day started in the synagogue, where Rav. Joseph Levi; the Imam of Florence Izzedin Elzir; Mons. Andrea Bellandi; and Tenzin Tenphel started the ecumenical debate. The moderator was the director of La Nazione Pierfrancesco De Robertis. The four leaders of different religions had a debate on the theme “Beyond the slash. The Strength of Compassion”. 300 people who were in the square in front of the synagogue followed this debate and then had lunch together in the Jewish temple.
During the afternoon, there was the most followed debate on the Circle of the Holy Cross. Joseph Weiler – American professor – and Father Bernardo Gianni, prior of San Miniato al Monte – intervened. Father Bernardo said, “Those who do not believe can be good people. the difference with those who believe is not ethics or morals, it is holiness, meaning the desire of the imitatio dei”. The closing of the Festival was the show “The Voice of Children”, 100 children performed a show reading holy writs, which was organized in collaboration with Culter Association after a long teaching plan with some school in Florence.
Translation provided by Mary Ann D’Costa