On the site of a church torn down by East Germany’s communist rulers, a new place of worship is set to rise that will bring Christians, Jews and Muslims under one roof – and it has already been dubbed a “churmosquagogue”.
The foundation stone of the House of One in Berlin will be laid at a ceremony on 27 May, marking the end of 10 years of planning and the beginning of an estimated four years of construction, and symbolising a new venture in interfaith cooperation and dialogue. The €47m building, designed by Berlin architects Kuehn Malvezzi, will incorporate a church, a mosque and a synagogue linked to a central meeting space. People of other faiths and denominations, and those of no faith, will be invited to events and discussions in the large hall.
“The idea is pretty simple,” said Roland Stolte, a Christian theologian who helped start the project. “We wanted to build a house of prayer and learning, where these three religions could co-exist while each retaining their own identity.”
Andreas Nachama, a rabbi who is turning the vision into reality in partnership with a pastor and imam, said: “There are many different ways to God, and each is a good way.” In the House of One, Christians, Muslims and Jews would worship separately, but would visit each other for religious holidays, commemorations and celebrations, he added.
“It is more than a symbol. It is the start of a new era where we show there is no hate between us.”