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The Holy See wants to promote an “awareness” of Europe’s Christian roots through its cultural routes.

Nacho Such | Shutterstock

Holy See joins council to promote awareness of the cultural routes traversing the continent.

It’s not the Euro that makes Europa: the Holy See wants to promote an “awareness” of Europe’s Christian roots through its cultural routes. To this end, the Holy See has officially become the 32nd member of the Council of Europe’s Enlarged Partial Agreement on  Cultural Routes, it was announced April 19. Bishop Maurizio Bravi, permanent observer of the Holy See to the World Tourism Organization, said this membership will contribute to an “awareness” of Europe’s Christian roots.

This membership, Bishop Bravi told the agency SIR, “highlights history and heritage, the European cultural tradition.” Although “rich and multiform,” it is also “based on common roots giving rise to an identity we want to highlight and promote.” 

For the prelate, “the religious experience and in particular, Christian life,” have a special place in the European panorama. As a new member of this agreement, the Holy See can now become “more directly involved” in raising “awareness” of the “decisive role” of Christianity.

400,000 religious buildings in Europe

Bishop Bravi highlighted the many routes already certified by this agreement with a “clear religious reference”: the road of Compostela, the via Francigena that ends in Rome, the route of Saint-Martin-de-Tours from Hungary to France, and the Saint-Olaf route in Norway. Thanks to these routes, “We can see how much the Christian message has been inculturated in Europe,” said the prelate. 

The presence of 400,000 religious buildings scattered on the continent also shows how “European roots are also, but not exclusively, Christian.”

In this way, wrote the nuncio in L’Osservatore Romano on April 19, we see that “the idea of ​​Europe is not limited to the adoption of the single common currency.” Indeed, he said, there is “a fund of values ​​and ideals” that gave rise to a common identity. Its rediscovery may be an “antidote to nationalist pressures,” Bishop Bravi said.

This membership was ratified on March 21 and officially inaugurated in the presence of Bishop Bravi at an April 18 ceremony at the European Institute of Cultural Routes in Luxembourg. This institute, created in 1998, advises and coordinates the evaluation of certified cultural routes.

Read more: 7 Sanctuaries linked by a straight line: The legendary Sword of St. Michael

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