I am writing this today Monday 11 November, Remembrance Day in Canada when we reflect on the Armistice which ended the First World War. Though I am told that the name First World War belongs really to the War of Liberation in Europe against Napoleon, his 12 campaigns or 12 years of War involving all the Empires and Kingdoms in Europe was then considered a World War by Europeans Princes.
Berlin in the 20th century was then seen as a Capital of the enemy who wanted to dominate the world. Then the Second World War brought more hatred and calamity on us all. Millions perished, countries ravaged and the world ended up divided between the West and the East with in 1961 a Wall dividing not only a city, Berlin but an entire continent, Europe, a Nuclear Arms race and mutual assured destruction was a political doctrine during the Cold War 1946-1989.
Since the reunification of Germany with the fall of the Wall 30 years ago this week, the German Federal Government decided that a new chapter would be written and this one would focus on peace and cooperation at home and in the world. For Berlin, the Capital once again, the Regional Government of Brandenburg and the Municipal City Council Berlin developed a plan to focus on the Age of Enlightenment and its great thinkers and artists and to take a humanist approach. If you visit Berlin you will see it everywhere, a truly progressive city and outlook.
The project of House of One on PetriPlatz on FisherIsland, the Medieval centre of the original City of Berlin is in step with the new concept or approach in developing Berlin of the 21th Century.
PetriPlatz was the site of the original Church of St-Peter in Berlin centuries ago. It was destroyed in 1944 in Allied bombings and remained a empty piece of land in East Berlin under the GDR Government.
The project is to build as of 2020 a building The House of One uniting all 3 monotheist religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all having the same Abrahamic Foundation.
The “House of One” will comprise a church, a synagogue and a mosque. Three spaces connected to a central communal room.
The initiative became a foundation and the idea became a design. The model for which has already been exhibited internationally in Chicago and Paris – is special. Deep underground it preserves the archaeological remains of Berlin’s history and the various churches that were built, destroyed, rebuilt or bombed here. Above ground, it will rise some 32 metres into the sky, becoming a symbol of a new era.
The planned cost is around 43.5 million euros, donations coming from various countries. This Fall, the German Federal Government promised to contribute ten million euros, if the state of Berlin and individual donations could match that funding. Now the foundation stone is due to be laid on 14 April 2020.
This date was chosen very deliberately. 14 April 1783 saw the premiere of “Nathan the Wise” in Berlin. The great play by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) is probably the most important work of classic German-language literature on co-operation between Jews, Christians and Muslims. Lessing uses a “Ring parable” to explain that God loves all three monotheistic religions – and they are therefore duty-bound to be tolerant.
‘Petrikirche was the start of Berlin, which has now grown into a multicultural, multi-faith city. A lot has happened over the centuries, this is a sign of peace and tolerance.’says the architect Wilfried Kuehn.
Two concept views of the new building soaring 32 meters or 104 feet. on PetriPlatz, Berlin.