Three Religions, One Goal

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Tolerance and respect – the principle of a successful dialogue. (René Arnold)

Many people long for a place where tolerance and respect are highly valued, not only in terms of religion. It is Berlin that is turning into a place where such a dream can come true.

In May 2021, the German capital, Berlin, laid the foundation stone of the future building with the symbolic name House of One. It was an official launching of an important construction project. It is supposed to be a temple housing the three most widespread monotheistic religions – Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Still, the essence is respect for every individual, regardless of religion, so its doors are open to anyone.

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The House of One project’s spiritual leaders held the foundation stone, showing the symbolic start of the construction. (Klemens Renner)

Once a Church, Today a Temple

The building, which represents a mosque, synagogue, and church in one, will stand on Petriplatz, one of the oldest squares in the center of Berlin. Once Petrikirche from the 13th century stood there. Unfortunately, it was severely damaged in the World War II bombing and totally demolished in 1964 during the communist era.

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Rabbi Andreas Nachama, Imam Kadir Sanci and Pastor Gregor Hohberg (René Arnold)

A Monumental Gesture

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The House of One will contain elements of three religions – Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. (Rendering Kuehn Malvezzi House of One / Petriplatz © Davide Abbonacci)

The House of One project leaders are Imam Kadir Sanci, Rabbi Andreas Nachama, and Pastor Gregor Hohberg, a Protestant priest. Of course, the idea of the project was born in the minds of these spiritual representatives a long time ago, preceded by many plans and preparations. The idea of locating a sacral building on the site of the former Petrikirche church was born in the head of pastor Hohberg, giving the project a new dimension. It should be completed within four years.

Rabbi Nachama is excited about the idea of Jews, Christians, Muslims meeting under one roof, along with other religious or non-religious people. “It should become a house of mutual respect,” the rabbi added.

Imam Sanci is glad that Muslims will be finally able to pray in the Berlin city center, as most mosques are located in remote areas.

House of one A Touch of Spirituality

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The House of One is to become a community center for everybody. (House of One – Central Room)

The design was implemented by architectural practice Kuehn Malvezz, focusing mainly on public spaces, museums, and exhibitions. As can be seen from the visualization, the final design of the House of One will combine elements of modern minimalism, but all with sensitivity and respect for its spiritual significance. A central space under the domed part of the building should be reserved for mutual dialogue, meetings, and learning. At the same time, visitors will be able to see archeological excavations from the earliest history of Berlin. The archaeological research began in 2007.

One of the most significant ideas of the House of One project was to build a place where religions can talk to each other instead of picking at each other. Having a non-offensive and non-violent conversation targeted at listening to and respecting each other should be a good ground on the road to partial reconciliation between people of different cultures and religions. And not only religion- which is why the House of One project symbolically emphasizes the importance of tolerance regardless of time and space.

Text: Miriama Vojteková