Religious leaders 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
World religious leaders gather in Assisi, Italy for a summit to promote peace.
The initiative was called by Catholic Pope Benedict
XVI, on the 25th anniversary of a similar event hosted by his
predecessor John Paul II.
Pilgrims gathered outside the Saint Mary of the Angels Basilica, where the meeting took place.
Many had traveled long distances to take part, such as one group Romania.
"We are so happy to be here. Yesterday was a great
moment when after a day of hard rain we arrive here, and we were so
happy realizing that we've done 140 kilometers, we are here for the
meeting with the Pope," said Maria, and Orthodox faithful from Romania.
The summit comes following concerns over rising inter-religious violence.
In January Benedict expressed concern for the persecution of Christians around the world.
Earlier this month, at least 25 people were killed in
Cairo when a protest by Coptic Christians was violently suppressed by
In November last year, more than 50 hostages and police officers were killed when al-Qaida gunmen stormed a Baghdad church.
The Vatican fears that continuing attacks are fueling a Christian exodus from the Middle East.