Hindus and Christians in Europe

May 9, 2023 | Maureen Goodman, Brahma Kumaris
On 2nd May 2023, a group of 60 participants from the Christian and Sanatan Dharma traditions, from all over Europe, met at the invitation of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue of the Vatican. Hindus and Christians in Europe: Building Together a ‘fraternity-based new humanism’ was an initiative to help foster greater integration of the traditions of India into the life of the continent of Europe. As His Eminence Cardinal Ayuso Guixot said in his opening address: ‘With the religious landscape of Europe rapidly evolving, there is a need more than ever, to promote interreligious dialogue for peace and harmony in the continent and for building bridges and tearing down walls that divide people.’


In introducing the panel focused on integration I stated an aim that was most meaningful to me and, I believe, to most of those present: ‘that we share together the spiritual wealth that each tradition holds and through this, we not only come closer to each other, but also closer to our true selves and to the Divine’.


As the day went on there was a sense of the complexity of integrating into a society where your religion is not that of the host community. Dr Mishra stated: ‘for me the phrase Integration of Hindus means how much and how far Hindus in Europe feel themselves to be religiously at home’.


There are times when being amongst those of different religious traditions nurtures a sense of belonging. This feeling of being ‘at home’ takes us beyond barriers. Several of us knew each other in this gathering but many were meeting for the first time. The atmosphere of friendship created safety and the potential for a deepening of the relationship. It is my perception that we felt accepted, respected and listened to. This is a precious experience in an unsafe world of influence and fear.


Joining the general audience with His Holiness Pope Francis was a great privilege. Pope Francis spoke of his recent visit to Hungary and the need to keep connection with our roots and also be bridge-makers of peace.


These words will stay with me and will remind me of the friendship between people of faith that is an anchor in our ever changing world.