The need for dialogue is constant, and we may never have needed it like now – is the conclusion of the 800th anniversary of the encounter of St. Francis and the Sultan of Egypt.
The encounter of St. Francis and Egyptian sultan Malik al Kamil happened back in 1219, and it represents an occasion for strengthening of dialogue with others and different for the Franciscans, as well as many others.
“St. Francis is an example and real inspiration for dialogue to Franciscans and numerous other people. He went to the East during great wars in June 1219 and he came to Damietta. He met Egyptian sultan Malik al Kamil at the end of August or at the beginning September of that year,” said Fr Iko Skoko.
“Sociologist Zeljko Mardesic wrote that St. Francis of Assisi was not a knight who went to fight the war in the Holy Land, but he went as a poor monk there to try to calm down all the hate and hostility. Therefore, we have forgotten all those knights long time ago but we still celebrate St. Francis,” said Fr. Iko Skoko.
Since the great anniversary will take place in the year of 2018, the Franciscans have already started with the preparations, and an important world conference will take place in Mostar.
“Our International commission for dialogue will organize a meeting in Mostar in the period between February 18 and 24, this year, and the key topic will be marking of the encounter of St. Francis and the sultan. Numerous Franciscans and civil authorities from all over the world will be part of the commission.”
Fr Iko also stated that the Catholic Church insists on dialogue and he emphasised the great gathering in Assisi that happened 31 years ago, and which left a special mark.
“Marking this anniversary must not be just a remembrance, but also a stimulus for a new dialogue in our communities. There are Franciscans in more than 110 different countries, just imagine if we start with the movement like this in each of these countries, imagine how great power this would be. It would be ideal if we could start from Mostar and end the marking celebration in Egypt,” concluded Fr. Iko Skoko.
(Source: R. D./Klix.ba)