Commission for Dialogue Meets in Istanbul

The Commission for Dialogue held its annual meeting from 4-8 March 2019, at Santa Maria Draperis Friary in Istanbul, home of the Fraternity for Dialogue. In attendance were,

  • Russel Murray (General Curia, Rome), President.
  • Michael Calabria (Holy Name Province, USA).
  • Alberto Pari (Custody of the Holy Land).
  • Apollinaire Bahinde (Fraternity for Dialogue).
  • James Puglisi, SA (Centro Pro Unione).
  • John Wong (Custody of Singapore-Malaysia-Brunei).
  • Iko Skoko (Province of Mostar).
  • Dr. Lia Giovanazzi Beltrami (Aurora Vision).
  • Pradeep Kalliath (Province of India).
  • Riccardo Burigana (Istituto dei Studi Ecumenici).


The Commission reviewed the previous year’s commitments and established new commitments. Of particular note are the following items,

  • The Commission’s new website is nearing completion. It will make available online resources for the formation in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.
  • The Commission received positive responses to its greetings to the world’s Muslims (Ramadan), Buddhists (Vesak) and Hindus (Diwali). This practice will continue. We will also greeting our Jewish sisters and brothers at Rosh Hashana.
  • The first International Buddhist-Franciscan Encounter took place at Plum Village in Thailand. More such encounters will follow.
  • The Commission will assist the Fraternity for Dialogue in advertising its annual Course in Dialogue.
  • The Commission’s work on an ecumenical project to combat Human Trafficking will launch Advent 2019.


The Commission endorsed the program of the Special Commission for Dialogue with Islam to mark the 800th anniversary of the Damietta Encounter. The program was presented by Br. Michael, President of the Special Commission. It included,

  • The special Intercessions for the Liturgy of the Hours, which were published online in January.
  • An online formation resource to be published online in April.
  • A special gathering of Brothers engaged in dialogue with Islam in October.


In keeping with its mission to promote local initiatives, the Commission met several dialogue partners of the Fraternity for Dialogue. Of special note was its reception by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, a beloved friend of the Fraternity since its founding.

The Commission was also warmly received by the Apostolic Administrator of Istanbul, Bishop Ruben Tierrablanca, OFM, a founding member of the Fraternity for Dialogue, who shared his rich experiences in the service of dialogue.

The Commission thanks the Fraternity for Dialogue and its Guardian, Br. Eleuthere Makuta, for their generous hospitality. The Commission encourages all Brothers to take advantage of the Fraternity’s expertise to design formation programs for dialogue.