On the construction site of the House of One in the center of Berlin, interested people will be able to inform themselves about the work of the interreligious peace project in the future. The House of One-Box, a container equipped with an exhibition and media technology, was opened on Wednesday (14.6.2023).
Rabbi Andreas Nachama, Pastor Gregor Hohberg and Imam Kadir Sanci inaugurated more than just an information point on Petriplatz with prayers from their respective religious traditions. Rather, it is a House of One in miniature. "With this temporary place on our construction site, a place of encounter, conversation, common prayer and exchange is being created in the middle of Berlin, an expression of our religiously diverse society," Rabbi Andreas Nachama said in Berlin on Wednesday.
Path of tolerance
The mayor of Berlin-Mitte, Stefanie Remlinger, used her district as an example: "Just because we are a colorful district, one might think that living together is a matter of course. It isn't. Dialogue is important and productive." The work of House of One is irreplaceable, she said. "I'm glad to have this House in my district. Together we want to develop a path of tolerance through Berlin Mitte."
"The crises of our time show the vulnerability of our society and call for projects that focus on interpersonal togetherness across differences," added Pastor Gregor Hohberg. "Face-to-face encounters at eye level, valuing differences and praying side by side need initiatives like the House of One." In anticipation of the common house, the House of One box will be a place where multi-faith formats such as peace prayers are lived, he said.
No place for hate and discrimination
"With this day, religions and their peace-building power once again come to the attention of secular society as well," said Imam Kadir Sanci. "This is important at a time when what we have in common is too often not perceived." Places of shared learning are needed, he said. "Because where diversity is lived and there is mutual recognition, there is no place for hate and discrimination."
The prayers focused on the resumption of construction. Kadir Sanci recalled Abraham, who was commissioned to rebuild the Kaaba in Mecca - a house referred to in the Quran as a place of gathering and safety established by God. "Take the place of Abraham as a place of prayer," it says. Kadir Sanci followed that up with, "We - the House of One - are also building a site as a place of prayer for different religions and as a 'place of gathering and safety.'"
Progress on the construction site
Roland Stolte, director of the House of One Foundation - House of Prayer and Teaching, elaborated on the progress at the construction site. "A lot has been accomplished," the theologian said. "And even though we have been asked again and again, 'Does the House of One still exist?' Nothing is happening on the construction site' - there was never a day when we had our hands in our laps." Construction is finally continuing, he said, after the deep foundation with 71 bored piles was already executed in 2019 and the foundation stone was laid in 2021.
The total cost of the project is 69.5 million euros. This already includes a budget of three million euros for possible further price increases, as essential services will be awarded in a year's time. Since 2020, when the costs for the House of One were last calculated at 47.2 million euros, construction prices have risen by almost 40 percent, according to the Federal Statistical Office.