Diverse Faiths Join Reconcilation Concert

( [email protected] ) Jan 19, 2004 01:52 PM EST

VATICAN CITY--Religious figures and representatves from Judaism, Christianity, and Islamic parties joined Pope John Paull II on Saturday at a music concert that has been dubbed "The Concert for Reconciliation" as the purpose of the concert was expressed by John Paul "to promote the commitment for a peaceful coexistence among all the children of Abraham."

The pope sought music as an instrument to reconciliation and urged all faiths to stop the religious violence of the world.

"Jews, Christians and Muslims cannot let the earth be afflicted by hate, or allow humanity to be always in a state of upheaval caused by wars without end," he said.

"Today one feels the pressing need for a sincere reconciliation among the believers in the one God. We are here together this evening to give concrete expression to this commitment to reconciliation, trusting in the universal message of music."

Jewish music conductor Gilbert Levine led the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in a world premiere of composer John Harbison's choral "Abraham." Levine says the concert also celebrates John Paul's 25th anniversary as pontiff. It was the first time an American orchestra played at the Vatican.

Ankara Polyphonic Choir, from the predominatntly Islamic country Turkey, also performed as the event was televised and broadcasted on radio throughout the United States and Europe.

In attendance at the concet was Secretary-General of the Islamic Cultural Center of Italy Adellah Redouane who commented that the pope's "constant appeals for peace remind us of the road to follow."

Henry Sobel, Brazil's chief rabbi was also present in Rome. He expressed regret since he felt efforts to strengthen Islamic relations have been put aside as focus turned more to reconcialing Christians and Jews.

"Music is a universal language that speaks to all relations, all people, and all nations and I think that that's what this concert is all about," said Lawrence J. Tamburi, the Pittsburgh orchestra's president and chief executive officer.