(Vatican Radio) Catholic and Orthodox leaders are meeting in the Turkish city of Istanbul
this week for a seminar on religious freedom, 1,700 years after Emperor Constantine
granted freedom of conscience and ended persecution against Christians in the Roman
The meeting, jointly organized by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Istanbul Bartholomew 1st, spiritual leader of the Orthodox world, and the Council of European Bishops Conferences or CCEE, will take place on May 17th and 18th, focusing on the historical, legal and political aspects of religious freedom in Europe and beyond.
The Ecumenical Patriarch will open the meeting, which will commemorate the Milan Edict of Toleration in 313 which had such a pivotal impact on the development of European society. Participants will examine current questions of religious freedom from three perspectives: that of the religious communities, including the Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox and Catholic communities; the reality of religious freedom in the world today, and the relationship between religion, politics and contemporary society.
The closed door meeting will conclude with a visit to the site of Constantine’s death in May 337.