Minister of State for International Cultural Policy Michelle Müntefering issued the following statement today (3 September) on the restoration of the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem:
I am very pleased that we are able to perform restoration work on the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem with the help of the Federal Foreign Office. In its unique position on Mount Zion, the Abbey is an important hub of ecumenical work and a forum for interfaith dialogue. With this renovation project, we are opening the way for people of different faiths to continue to meet in this place and talk to one another. That is important. After all, exchange is the cornerstone of mutual understanding and peace.
Abbot Bernhard Maria Alter of the Dormition Abbey said:
For more than a century, Benedictines have been living, praying and working on Mount Zion at the heart of Jerusalem. We are delighted that this Abbey, which almost all pilgrims to the Holy Land visit and consider a holy site, is going to be upgraded. The improvements to the complex will mean we are in an even better position to facilitate ecumenical and interfaith dialogue.
The governing parties anchored the plan to perform restoration work on the Dormition Abbey in the 2018 coalition agreement. The work to restore the complex is to cost more than five million euro of which the Federal Foreign Office is to provide around four million euro.
The Abbey was built between 1900 and 1910 for German Benedictine monks and is now being restored for the first time. In the first stage up until 2022, the monastery and basilica will be renovated, in a second stage, work will be done to upgrade Beit Josef, a student residence belonging to the Abbey. An allocation agreement recently signed by the Federal Foreign Office and the Archdiocese of Cologne means work can now begin.
The Dormition Abbey is owned by the German Association of the Holy Land (DVHL). By supporting interfaith dialogue and engaging to promote peace, the Association has been working for the people in the Middle East for more than 160 years. Amid the complex interplay between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, it flies the flag for understanding, reconciliation and peace. The Archbishop of Cologne is the Association’s President.