On 21st March, the Santa Sede (Holy Headquarters) formally joined the Agreement of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe.
The news was published by international media and on Friday 20th April 2018 the Osservatore Romano, the religious political newspaper published in Vatican City, published two articles of reflection signed by Stefano Dominioni and Maurizio Bravi.
“There are 31 certified routes that run through the 47 member states of the Council of Europe and beyond the borders of our continent, supported and promoted by over 1,500 members of the associations: municipalities, provinces, regions, but also museums , cultural institutes, foundations. – remembers Dominioni, Executive Secretary of the Agreement on the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe and Director of the European Institute of Cultural Routes – Today, the Cultural Routes programme maintains all its relevance, representing an important tool for promoting citizenship, democratic, intercultural and religious dialogue, in line with the fundamental values of the Council of Europe: promotion and protection of human rights, democracy and the law “.
A journey that began in 1987 with the recognition of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela as the first Certified Route of the Council of Europe, “it is significant that it is an ancient pilgrimage route which still very popular today. It expresses the aspirations and common destinies of the continent; religion has played an important and decisive role throughout history “adds Mgr. Maurizio Bravi, Permanent Observer of Santa Sede in the l’Organizzazione mondiale del turismo.
“After Santiago, another 30 routes have been certified and” underlines Bravi “some of them have a direct reference to the religious tradition of the continent, such as the Via Francigena (1994), the European Jewish Heritage Route (2004); the Itinerary of San Martino di Tours (2005) to give some examples.”
“By adhering to the aforementioned agreement, the Santa Sede intends to show its involvement in the promotion of that which enriches European identity and its patrimony of values and ideals – explains Bravi in his article” Channels of dialogue “- The religious expressions of this identity deserve special attention and have greatly contributed to shaping Europe. They are still alive in all European countries and have offered fertile ground for the growth, maturation and dissemination of shared values of high symbolic and ethical content over the centuries “.
Recalling the wish of Pope Francis: “to consider the positive and constructive role that religion generally has in building society“, he concludes by saying: “The conservation, enhancement and promotion of the vast European cultural heritage, also used in tourism, it is not limited to a necessary archaeological recovery, but aims to make it available for the knowledge and the reading of a message that challenges our contemporaneity and whose value transcends the time and space in which it was created, re-proposing the ever-present questions on the meaning of life and of the action of man in the world“.
Download the articles in pdf below.