On the stage of the Hanns Martin Schleyer Sports Palace, in Stuttgart, all European Christian leaders attending declared their love for Christ on 8th May. It marks a historical day of Europe’s reunion in Christ 59 years after the end of the Second World War.
Starting from the morning session, renowned Christian leaders from Evangelical, Lutheran, Catholic, Orthodox churches and the Anglican Communion delivered speeches. In the challenge of secularism in Europe, most of them addressed unification between Christianity and Europe.
Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of St. Egidino opened a series of talks. He spoke about Europe as one country but also that it is a risk for the union to only be shaped by its economy.
“Christian leaders are to meet here to arrange with the momentum of love of this Europe, also we connect ourselves in a true union with people in the whole world,” he said, “because our lives as European Christians makes us not inhabitants of a large, comfortable island, but citizens of the whole world."
Bu using a parable, he also drew attention to the need of the countries in the South. He said, “The large south of the world, Africa, sits like the poor Lazarus before the door of Europe - Europe, like the Rich Man, must exceed its southern borders and use itself for the world, for Africa and for all war regions of the world.”
Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission commented, “Europe cannot be understood without Christianity.”
In the afternoon session, there was an intervention entitled, “The way we want Europe”. Youth Christian groups introduced themselves with all the interactive means like video and slide shows of historical pictures.
The climax of “Together for Europe” was at the end. 150 directors of different Christian movements and the promoters of the event came onto the stage and read out the final message in their own languages, including English, German, French and Italian.
The message calls on clergymen to work for Europe in making “its union become visible.” Brotherhood is the key of this union, meaning a life of love, which is proclaimed in the Gospel.
The brotherhood now shown should become concrete by fair distribution of goods and resources, equality and liberty for everyone, retaining the common cultural inheritance, openness for all humans of other cultures and religious traditions, solidarity with the weak ones and needy ones in our cities, appreciation of the family, attention of human life in all phases of its development, protection of the nature and environment.
The event was ended by the witnesses of bishops from different churches. Together they led the audience to read the prayer of Jesus in John 18: 21-23:
“that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”