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Introduction

Name: The Foundation “THE SACRED TREASURY OF RELIGIONS”
Central location: Bucharest, Sector 1, str. Gral Cristescu 12, Code 010198
Telephone: 004021-316.01.30 ; 317.68.47
Fax: 004021-312.01.07; 311.01.51
Email: edmond@clicknet.ro
Web: www.sacredtreasure.org

 

Introduction

Name: The Foundation “THE SACRED TREASURY OF RELIGIONS”
Central location: Bucharest, Sector 1, str. Gral Cristescu 12, Code 010198
Telephone: 004021-316.01.30 ; 317.68.47
Fax: 004021-312.01.07; 311.01.51
Email: edmond@clicknet.ro
Web: www.sacredtreasure.org

            Legal status:  A foundation legalized through Civil Sentence nr. 147 of 20th September 1994, issued by the Court Sector 1, Bucharest, Romania. It is a juridical non-governmental person, with no political color.
            Initially, the foundation was called THE HOUSE OF RELIGIONS and had as founding members Mrs. Marcela Ghiulbenghian, Flor Pomponiu and Alfred Harlaoanu. Two months after its legalization the foundation changed its name into the “WORLD MUSEUM OF RELIGIONS”, a change recorded by the Court of Sector 1 Bucharest during its session of 17th November 1994.
            Due to personal reasons, healthwise, in November 1996, Mr. Flor Pomponiu and Mr. Alfred Harlaoanu gave up their quality as founding members, the foundation remaining to this day with its sale founding member, Mrs. MARCELA GHIULBENGHIAN, diplomat and economist, also the President of the Administrative Council of the “Association for the Peace of Religions in Romania” (A.P.A.R.) and of the Association “Women for Positive Actions, Tolerance and Education” (F.A.P.T.E.), both located in Bucharest.
            In October 1997, the Foundation “World Museum of Religions” changed its name into “Sacred Treasure of Religions Foundation” the new name reflecting even better and more faithfully the final objective and goals of the organization: to set up and conduct an INTERNATIONAL FORUM of the main world Religions. The Court of Justice of Sector 1 Bucharest registered this modification on the 27th October 1997 public session.
            The Objectives and Goals  of the Sacred Treasure of Religious Foundation derived from the personal conviction of the Founder that it exists only one and the same God for the entire humankind and that by the faith in Him all humans are brothers, sisters and sons of God, members with equal and full rights of human community, who have all come to earth (from various layers of light or from Hell) to a school where we are submitted to various temptations and thus become laden with light or darkness (with positive or negative). But God tells us we are all awaited to His Kingdom. The sacred texts existing on earth are the Universal Laws that God has made known to all nations through the various sacred texts of each country, continent, people, according to their own spiritual elevation.
            Starting from this endeavour, the foundation set to itself to achieve, on the local, national and world levels, the union of the efforts of all believers, spiritual leaders, regardless of nationality, race or religion, towards a permanent dialogue, and a general and lasting reconciliation in the spirit of tolerance and brotherly support, for the good of the entire society.
            The Foundation did not set to itself to invent or promote doctrines, hierarchies or elites, but to achieve and develop interfaith relations based on harmony, dialogue and understanding. Neither has it set to itself to create any fusion among the Churches or Religions, nor to practice religious syncretism, but rather to achieve, by means of joint social-cultural and religious project, mutual understanding, rapprochement, and a permanent dialogue able to guide into common decisions.
            Under the current circumstances, when tens of social ethnical, military etc. conflicts are taking place in the world, many of which having a religious character, we consider that the religions have an important role to play in avoiding such conflicts, integrism and fundamentalism.
            Towards the implementation of the goals of the foundation we started from the assumption that all main religions must and are interested in involving themselves in the struggle against human destructions, alienation and spiritual deterioration, because it is impossible to serve God without serving peace, without bringing one’s contribution to the life of the other, without considering as a brother him/her belonging  to a different religion, ethnic group, sex, culture, vocation, for nothing is there without love.
            Reality in the contemporary world shows the urgent necessity for interfaith cooperation in order to contribute to the ousting of violence generated by several factors: economic, frustrations, joblessness, poverty, marginalization of groups of people even from the midst of one’s own community etc., as well as exists violence generated from political reasons interested people are manipulating for their own ends, religious fundamentalism (due to the canonical oaths of every religion).
            We have also taken into account the fact that all main religions preach and speak about peace, while religionists are called upon to serve man by serving peace. Therefore, there is a need that, before everything else, among the religions of the world be created mutual trust, respect and tolerance.
            And an organized framework for the implementation of such desires may be offered “The International Forum of Religions” (IFR) contemplated to come into being and work in Romania, in Bucharest.
            Subject themes such as: man and world, every day life and practice mutual understanding and cooperation among religions etc., may contribute in a substantial man wer to the stopping of religious wars that are a sad side to the faith. And, secondly, inter religious dialogue can contribute to the reconciliation among the nations and to promotion of ideals of freedom and peace in the world today, to an unique spiritual culture, based upon the vote of the representatives of the official delegates of religions.
            On visiting Romania His Holiness Keshishian alongside with Mr. Der Petrosian, the President of Armenia and his wife, Mrs. Marcela Ghiulbenghian learnt that at the international Level the permanent dialogue of religions was much desired.
            Being one of the Presidents of the World Council of Churches in Geneva and its Moderator, His Holiness Aram I was delighted by the idea.
            By making the project known, the idea of a permanent dialogue among the representatives of Religions to His Beatitude Patriarch Theoctist, and having received His blessing, Mrs. Marcela Ghiulbenghian, in order to implement this idea, has bought a reasonably big piece of land to be donated to a future Centre of All Religions.
            Being herself an economist by profession, a business woman but   without a solid religious culture begins to become spiritually instructed, reads the Bible and, to her total surprise, sees, the idea of dialogue in the New Testament, especially in Chapter 21 the book of Revelation, and the land she has booked described in Chapter 22 of Revelation, and comes to realize it is the work of God and not her idea.
            In view to implement the objectives and goals of the Foundation, it started from the idea to primarily achieve a rapprochement and knowledge among the faithful of the various religions, Churches, and ethnic groups in Romania.
            One first achievement of the Foundation has been the setting up of A.P.A.R. having as founding members several representatives of the majority of religious and leaders of dogma and confessions in Romania, Secretary General being the Rev. Prof. Dr. Alexandru I. Stan.
            Separately or jointly with the A.P.A.R. a series of actions have been carried out and projects aiming at mutual acquaintance and rapprochement among the faithful. Among these are mentioned:

  • the official opening of A.P.A.R. on the 24th of November 1995 in the Hall for International Conferences (opposite the USA Embassy, Batistei Street, were present where representatives of all the Religious denominations of Romania. They were delighted by this initiative. Present were the Ambassador of Israel and the ambassador of Palestine (who sat side by side), press, other ambassadors, various personalities (see Photo 1).
  • setting up, financing and conducting of a musical-religious show sustained by artistic formations belonging to ethnic religious communities in Romania. Significant artistic input came from artistic formations representing 12 nationalities and 8 religious denominations. The show took place in the Grand Hall of the Royal Palace in Bucharest, on the 4th of February 1995, under the generic title “Yours is the Kingdom and the Might”. All the religions in Romania were represented. The show was broadcasted on TV and published.
  • In 1996, in Mai, the first musical-religious Contest of all religions and denominations of Romania took place under the heading: ”Yours is the Kingdom and the Might”. The Contest was dealt with:
  • musical creation
  • interpretation of Music
  • Literary interpretation, and creation
  • Painting

Diplomas and prizes in money were awarded. The contest and shows took were hosted in the Palace of Children. The judges was made up from among renown specialists of all the etnic sections and religions.

  1. in Mai 1977 a new Musical Contest “Corala Mundi” took place and was broadcasted on TV and publicized as a success because representatives of all religions of Romania took part in the jury of musical creations or in the show itself.
  2. Following the opening towards dialogue of the representatives of the Religious, the leadership of the Foundation and of the APAR have decided  upon and organized accordingly the handing out of the Diplomas for spiritual convergence and medals for cooperation in interfaith dialogue.
  3. with its own resources or in cooperation with other institutions, there were organized symposia on various theme, such as:

a)                 Convergence of Cultures and Civilizations: Islam and Christianity jointly with the Embassy of the Islamic Iranian Republic in Bucharest (November 2000).
b)                 Science and Religion – an essential dialogue in support of society APAR in cooperation with the UNESCO National Commission for Romania, Mai-July 2003.

  1. yearly were initiated courses for initiation in religious knowledge and education in form of expositions, dialogues, round tables, contests that took place at the women’s Club FAPTE, and where were invited representatives of various religious and Churches in Romania;
  2. also yearly-but also in other occasions-were sponsored or even organized performances, festivals etc., in Homes for Children, Centers of placement (“Lizuca”, “Luminita” etc.) or social care Centers for teenagers, or it the penitentiary of maximum safety “Rahova”- section for Underage and youth. On these occasions the audience were granted individual, substantial gifts (such as clothing, shoes, electronic devices, stationery etc.) and also individual packs with various sweets.

For the publicity of the objectives and goals, but also for contacts of mutual acquaintance and co-operation, the founders and her co-workers took part in various international religious encounters, of which here are mentioned:

  • October 1996 – Budapest, Hungary – European Conference on Religion and Peace – 7 persons;
  • March 1997 – Oxford, England – The International encounter of the II (International Interfaith’ Council) – 2 persons.
  • August-September 1998, Bucharest – The 2nd International encounter “Man and Religions: Peace in the Name of God”, organized by Saint Egidio – Italy – together with the Romanian Government and the Romanian Orthodox Church.
  • Iune-1999 – Palo Alto, Stanford University California, USA, “The Initiative for United Religions” – 2 persons.

               During the activity of the Foundation – almost 10 years, out of the contacts created with people of diverse Religions, Churches and denominations, within the country and especially abroad, we become aware that Romanian enjoys a good spiritual renown, being unanimously recognized and appreciated as special a multi-confessional and multi religious state, that never along its millenial existence was confronted with major internal strifes of religious nature.
               On the other hand I know it well that the Apostle Paul alls on Christians to guard at the same time the “unity of Spirit “with those inside and “the bond of peace” with those without” (Ephesians 4:3).
               Starting from these two considerations, as well as from a personal experience was born the idea of setting up in Romania of an INTERNATIONAL FORUM OF RELIGIONS (IFR-FIR).
               The aim and goal of the International Forum of Religions (IFR) are, in Principle, to encourage and promote rapprochement and letter acquaintance among the representatives (liders) of the main world religions, through organized and permanent personal contacts, through dialogue, prayers in common and prophetic gestures which may help create a new climate of understanding and cooperation in the world. At the same table of dialogue and analysis, the representatives of the main world religions will establish a common way of acting for all the faithful in view to freshen up the faith and the living in God.
               While confronted with secularism in contemporary world, religions must make sure the one of faith in God is proclaimed in its entirety and be kept from erroneous and erratic interpretations.
               All religions express the aspiration towards good will and understanding, which arises from sincere love of God. Each individual, each nation can discover their authentic vocation to the extent they stay in relationship with Him who are above all and Who accompanies all human beings towards the common future.
               Therefore, in its work, I.F.R. starts from the principle that what unites all the faithful in the world-faith in God is more powerful than what keeps them apart.
               We believe that following the interfaith and ecumenical dialogues, religious leaders, while working together, may constitute a means for the promotion of a number of solutions for the quenching of all conflicts and for reconciliation and peace.
               The International Forum of Religions will be a permanent assembly of the representatives of the main world religious having as a goal the achievement of the common good. In the framework of this Forum we shall teach one another and shall learn about the other religions in order to gain a perspective and a clear appreciation of the truth residing in each of them.
               Towards the setting up of I.F.R. we started out from the assumption that, today, the global migration of people of various religions led to a mixture of all, going beyond the era when each religion was strictly delimited geographically. Today religions are multi-national entities transcending governments and nationalities.
               On the other hand, within each religion there are groups hating one another, even more bitterly than religions hate one another
               Within this framework, the I.F.R. proposes to all religions a “temporary peace”, a time within which exclusivist feelings in each religion be “neutral”, for each religion to offer “in exchange” sacred hospitality and tolerance within its own tradition. To the extent in which people come in contact with the spiritual life of the people of other faiths a new heart will be revealed a God will be the one who will make peace among religions, disclosing a new sense of affection among the religions, without this being a sin. Thus, together, religions will discover a new level of interaction.
               One must specify within the scope of the activity of the International Forum of Religions, there is no room for religious syncretism, but I.F.R. will be an organization setting itself to defend and develop the clean faith of billions of faithful everywhere, to promote genuine knowledge and mutual respect among the believers of various walks and religious or spiritual orientations.
               Converging of piety, mutual respect and harmony must become a reality of the new century and millenium in which we live, for the benefit of the entire humanity.
               Within I.F.R. collaboration among the religions will be founded on the common values of sacred origin linked by global ethics aiming at promotion of peace among religions and common action in front of the urgent global stringencies.
               We do express our hope that through I.F.R. the world religious will succeed in overcoming mutual intolerance or mutual ignorance, and attain mutual respect and cooperation. The International Forum of Religions will thus become, in such away, creator of peace.
               At the basis of the activities of the International Forum of Religions there will from amongst others be respected the following basic principles, such as:
               1. Acceptance that there are several ways in which people have gained a feeling of the sacred;
               2. Each religion shall be seen and accepted as a valid way to salvation;
               3. All religious be respected, each of them, following its proper sacred path and practicing specific rituals;
               4. Interfaith dialogue within I.F.R. will not be subject to imposing a philosophy of religion against another one, but be a place of meeting where representatives of the religions may carry out dialogue and decide on common actions to be carried out for the benefit of mankind.
               5. The International Forum of Religions will never create a new religion while the representatives of religions in the Forum will not be obliged to take part in any ritual or be submitted to proselytism, but all shall have to learn from the other faiths.
               6. The International Forum of Religions will be open to the spiritual, cultural organizations subscribing fully to its goal and principles and that show capacity and resources to participate constructively.
               The International Forum of Religions presents to all religions a dialogue, a reconciliation and together with all the participants will help create un ethics springing up from the principles of religions which can be applied in the non-religious wold as well. Today there are many and grave threats to the global environment: the disproportion between rich and poor, racism, inter-religious hatred, xenophobia, violence, abortion, care and responsibility for family, upbringing children, homosexuality, consumerism and drugs, prostitution, commerce with human beings, illegal immigration, unemployment, etc.
               All of these are part of one and the same big problem: how can we live together taking account of one another, respecting one another, helping one another!
               The time has come for religions and individuals who carry spirituality to take upon themselves the responsibility before such grievous threats.
               The nations of the world have-almost 60 years for peace through the United Nations. And with what results?
               The World religions do not possess yet a global forum for dialogue, for the resolve of the great problems confronting humankind, and their opinions are not heard. I.F.R. desires to be a spiritual model, a continual and permanent forum of religious, a collective voice of ethics to be heard everywhere. I.F.R. will be a religious moral authority expressing the common points of view of the main religious facing the major challenges confronting humankind. It is from this position that I.F.R. will submit to the national or international   forums (accordingly) its own solutions for the solving of issues of general interest.
               Within I.F.R. there will be also a group of reconciliators with teams able to handle conflicts and, if necessary, to go to where need may be.
               Each religion member of I.F.R. will secure its own financial resources and gender necessary to cover its own needs, and the responsibility to put in common financial resources in order to help cover the needs of the other parts.
               To start with, the central home of the international Forum of Religions will be set up in a space hired from a religions or secular institution in Bucharest, while conference halls there are plenty in the Palace of Parliament, the Patriarchal Palace, in hotels like a “Lebada” (The Swan). “Intercontinental”, World Trade Center and so on. The hiring it self would bring substantial income to Romania as the case is with the hosting countries and other international institutions.
               A future permanent centre for I.F.R. will be built after words near Bucharest (village Vidra), on a terrain of around 40 hectares already in the possession of the Foundation “The Scared Treasure of Religions” and donated to I.F.R. The new centre will bear true name of “THE HOUSE OF GLORY AND ADORATION OF THE CELESTIAL FATHER”.
               The house of Glory and adoration of the Celestial Father represents a complex of buildings that shall secure the necessary conditions for the good functioning of the International Forum of Religions, and to be built following the start of the Forum’s activities.
               The complex will be built on a ground of approximately 20 hectares situated between Berceni and Vidra ( Ilfov district), at about 7 km from the underground Stop IMGB in Bucharest.
               The ground has been purchased and donated to the Foundation “The Sacred Treasure of Religions” by the Marcela Ghiulbenghian and Jirair’s family. In its turn, the Foundation has donated the respective ground to I.F.R.
               The complex shall include primarily, the following buildings:
               -The central building, which shall have the form a square having each side 233 meters long and 148 meters high: outside: the building will be an in the form of a pyramid with equal sides symbolizing the tent of God, and will end up with a square platform, each side’s length being of 23 meters, and on it will be fixed a devise of perpetual five, a lighthouse fed by the sun in daytime and able to stay alight all night.
               - Inside, in a sphere with pillars a meeting hall will be built which shall be in the form of a closed circle inscribed in a square. In the meeting hall on it fringe altars will be built for each religion, carrying sacred text at their based and separated by walls removable once a month, at the time of the general assembly of I.F.R.
               The building will be provided with 3 entrances on each side, oriented towards the four cardinal points.
               Also within the building there will be conference halls, desks, libraries, exhibition halls press centre, shops for the selling of religious objects and books belonging to all religions and translated in all languages, apartments for the ambassadors of all religions.
               Within the pyramid there will be build and equipped with all the necessary comfort, suites hosting the ambassadors of the religions members of the INTERNATIONAL FORUM OF RELIGIONS.
               In the complex will work: a printing press and a printing house, a modern centre of communications, garages, commercial spaces, restaurants with their specific, work shops and various shops, a health centre etc.
               In order to start the construction, a Project has been designed and all the agreements have been secured from several central state bodies: for environment and ecology, culture and religious denominations, paidology, water supplies, natural gas etc.
               At the beginning of the year 2002, the Foundation initiated building up of a centre for the Foundation and the authorization to build was received.
               The home centre of the Foundation has been turned into a religious haven with a church in the middle dedicated to the Celestial Father recognized by all the world religions, arranged as a skete with four cells, a desk, a dining hall and a level reserved for pilgrims or monks, needy and suffering etc.
               On the 16th of January 2005, the skete was donated to the Archdiocese of Bucharest dedicated to the Holy Trinity, together with 5 hectares of agricultural ground, of which 1 hectare surrounded by a wall 2 meters high, and 350 fruit trees, 100 rose-trees and other trees, flower giving bushes.

 

Next to the skete there is a baptismal font of 20 square meters.               


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