Bringing the World’s Religions Together in Bern

dscf0948-data-pngBERN, SWITZERLAND, December 14, 2014 (Swiss Info): It is thought to be a one-of-a-kind: tucked away in a multicultural, working-class suburb of Bern stands a building with five sanctuaries inside, one per religion. The House of Religions is a place for coexistence and interaction. The culmination of an idea born nearly 15 years ago, the House of Religions will finally open to the public on December 14. 

With the tip of his spatula, an artist perfects the round of the shoulder of Ganesh. Further away, some altars are already decorated in bright colors. The artists have come from Tamil Nadu especially to complete this work. “It was quite difficult to get visas for them. At each stage of the process we were being made to start the paperwork all over again,” says Sasikumar Tharmalinguam, the Hindu priest who will officiate at the House of Religions.

-mg-7331One of the founders, Hartmut Haas, a Moravian pastor (a branch of Protestantism) started the association in his kitchen before finding a space in town. He called it the House of Religions and the communities started a restaurant, organized various activities such as language and integration courses, yoga and so on. The institution then moved into wooden huts, where the Hindus had a small temple and the Buddhists, the Alevis (derived from Shiite Islam) and the Moravians gathered to pray and meditate. It was a far cry from the new lodgings at Europaplatz. Here in a modern complex that also houses apartments and a shopping centre. 

More at source.