Rabbi, priest and imam lay the cornerstone fort he House of One in Berlin/ President of the German Bundestag, Schäuble, praises the unusual project
People of Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths laid the cornerstone on Thursday (27.05.2021) in Berlin for the interfaith peace symbol House of One. The President of the German Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU), expressed his appreciation and described the House of One in his greeting as extraordinary because it was planned from the beginning by representatives of the three religions together and called it a "place of tolerance and openness". People of faith and others should meet in mutual respect.
For his part, Berlin's Governing Mayor, Michael Müller (SPD), called the House of One a project "with great opportunities for our community". It should become a "place of living diversity and invigorating debates.
Those present included Rabbi Andreas Nachama, Pastor Gregor Hohberg and Imam Kadir Sanci, who represent the three Abrahamic religions in the House of One, as well as companions from the first hour. "It has exemplary character, especially in our time of heated tempers, that all come together under one roof," said Rabbi Walter Homolka, co-initiator of the project and rector of the Abraham Geiger College.
Co-founder Ercan Karakoyun of the Foundation Bildung und Dialog expressed similar sentiments: "It's unique because it brings the three monotheistic religions together, and true because here everyone can be who they are and doesn't have to pretend." And Bishop Christian Stäblein of the Evangelical Church (EKBO) called the House of One a project that is "more necessary than ever."
For more than ten years, Pastor Hohberg, Rabbi Nachama and Imam Sanci have worked together to make the project a success. "We're not just building a house," said Imam Kadir Sanci, "we're also creating a heart and soul." Rabbi Nachama added, "And we are building the house to make a mark." Describing how necessary this is, Pastor Hohberg said, "I think interfaith dialogue is extremely important because without religious peace there will be no urban peace and no social peace."
Offerings from three religions go into the foundation stone
During the ceremony, a Jewish prayer book, a piece of cloth from the Kaaba in Mecca, a miniature of the Coventry Cross of Nails (symbol of peace and reconciliation), and a copy of the document naming the provost of what was then St. Peter's Church as the first citizen of Berlin in 1237 were placed in a copper capsule. The architectural design as well as wishes and messages from people all over the world were also enclosed, along with other items. The capsule was then walled into the foundation stone. The ceremony was accompanied musically by singers from the boys' choir of the Berlin State and Cathedral Choir.
The construction costs for the House of One amount to 47.3 million euros. From public grants from the federal and state governments, a total of 30 million, as well as from private donations from over 60 countries, 40 million euros have been raised so far.