Berlin is soon to become home, for the very first time in the world, to a single house of worship that unifies people of the three Abrahamic religions.
Jews, Christians, and Muslims are planning to build a shared house of worship in Berlin, one that brings a synagogue, a church, and a mosque together under one roof. The three separate sections will be linked by a communal room in the center of the building. This will serve as a meeting place, where worshippers and members of the public can come together and learn more about the three religions and each other. It is to be called The House of One and will be located at the Petriplatz in the heart of Berlin.
The group behind The House of One believe that the house will bring the city’s inspiring residents together in a fruitful dialogue that will enrich and expand the minds of all those who participate.
Berlin is a thriving city, steeped in culture, and it has become home for growing Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities. The project of the House of One has already been launched, under the leadership of a rabbi, pastor, and imam, all working together.
“A place that has darkness in its past has the potential for peace in its future. As a Jew, I associate Berlin with memories of pain and deep wounds – but that is not the end of the story. The city has also been a place of alternative paths, a place of enlightenment and of the development of Jewish life,” said Rabbi Tovia Ben-Chorin.
“In Berlin, when the Second World War ended in 1945, the Jews who had been in hiding and those who had fled to the country immediately began rebuilding a new Jewish life in the city. For me, Berlin is all about remembrance and rebirth,” he continued.
“At the oldest location in Berlin, where its first church was built, we want to look towards the future. On the foundations of the old church, we will construct a completely new building: The House of One. It will be a house of prayer and teaching, in which three religions will live. A synagogue, a church, and a mosque will be under the same roof. In The House of One, equality, peace, and reconciliation will have a home,” said Pastor Gregor Hohberg.
“The three religions have traveled different routes, but they actually have the same goals. With The House of One, we are very fortunate to work together in harmony, but most of all, to live together in diversity. For us Muslims, it represents a wonderful opportunity to be perceived and taken seriously in our home, in Germany. And it is wonderful to get to know our friends and neighbors better and to appreciate them. These are the thoughts that we have incorporated in the architectural competition and that we want to shape the spirit of the building,” said Imam Kadir Sanci.
In 2012, architects from around the world were invited to participate in the competition for the design of the building. The challenge was to come up with a new type of structure for something that no one had ever attempted before.
The winners of the competition are a team of architects at the renowned Berlin firm, Kuehn Melvezzi. They have designed a truly unique building: three separate holy rooms, arranged around a central hall.
The synagogue, which literally means house of assembly, is a place of prayer and also a place where individuals can celebrate in the Jewish community.
The church is where the Christian community holds their religious services; where they give thanks to God and pray in word and song. It serves as a place of teaching, where followers go to learn about their faith.
The mosque for Muslims is a place of retreat and deep reflection. The mosque faces the Kaabah in Makkah and is a place of communal prayer. It is a place of learning where people come together and exchange ideas, and it is also a place to celebrate religious holidays.
The Central Hall is the largest room in the building. It will serve as a meeting place that will encourage dialogue between the people of the three faiths and also with those from outside the three faiths. Religion, art, culture, and academic study will be showcased in this space.
An observatory will be built above the Central Hall to give visitors a beautiful view of Berlin. The founders of The House of One stated that they are committed to a culture of nonviolence and respect for all life, of solidarity, of respect, of life lived with integrity, ands