"Religions can thus, if successful, create symbolic interstitial spaces through architecture and art that promote peace."
"The House of One gains charisma and persuasiveness through people who carry the idea of a peaceful coexistence of religions into the world." These were the words of Roland Stolte, Director of the Berlin-based Foundation House of One, on the occasion of the appointment of Bishop Malkhaz Songulashvili and Imam Ali Aliev as House of One's first international project ambassadors in 2016. Songulashvili, archbishop of the Evangelical Baptist Church, is regarded in the Caucasus as a builder of bridges between cultures and religions. He is held in high esteem by Muslims, Yezidi and Christians alike. Malkhaz initiated the Peace Cathedral in Tbilisi together with Imam Aliev. A mosque and a synagogue are being built under the roof of the existing church.
"Travel to the Central African Republic is warned against," reads the website of the German Foreign Office. In this country, one of the poorest in the world, where everything is lacking, there are always signs of hope, too. Since 2016, the House of One has been working together with Cardinal Nzapalainga and Imam Kobine Layama, who unfortunately passed away in 2020, in their joint project on such a sign of hope: the realization of a "Maison de la Paix et des Religions", a house of peace and religions in the capital Bangui. Already in 2013, the spiritual leaders of the Catholic and Protestant Christians as well as the Muslims founded the "Plateforme des Confessions Religieuses de Centrafrique" (PCRC), an interreligious peace platform.
Buildings have walls. Walls can be barriers that define who can and cannot enter. "In Israel, synagogues, mosques and churches are considered purely religious sites. Non-believers therefore rarely enter these places," says Golan Ben Chorin. The rabbi and educator, who has been involved in interfaith dialogue all his life, therefore wants to tear down walls while creating a physical space that embodies the ideals of the House of One. This is how the idea of a "Garden of One" was born, a garden whose structure is based on that of the House of One and whose realization the rabbi has been pushing ahead with since 2019 as a joint project with the Foundation House of One in Berlin and with a group of like-minded people in the Israeli town Haifa.