Framed poster - Parliament of the World's Religions - Select group - Chicago USA - 1893 - All Religions
Framed poster - Parliament of the World's Religions - Select group - Chicago USA - 1893 - Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity
From left to right (Representing: Janism, Budhism, Hinduism, Christianity respectively): Virchand Gandhi, Hewivitarne Dharmapala, Swami Vivekananda, (possibly) G. Bonet Maury. Image rights: Public domain.
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World's Parliament of Religions Chicago - 1893
Framed poster - Parliament of the World's Religions - (left side) - Chicago USA - 1893 - All Religions
Note: This is an active movement: Ref: There have been meetings on 1893,1993,1999,2004,2009,2015,1018. https://www.parliamentofreligions.org/
In 1893, the city of Chicago hosted the World Columbian Exposition, an early world's fair. So many people were coming to Chicago from all over the world that many smaller conferences, called Congresses and Parliaments, were scheduled to take advantage of this unprecedented gathering.
One of these was the World's Parliament of Religions, an initiative of the Swedenborgian layman (and judge) Charles Carroll Bonney.
The Parliament of Religions was by far the largest of the congresses held in conjunction with the Exposition. John Henry Barrows, a clergyman, was appointed as the first chairman of the General Committee of the 1893 Parliament by Charles Bonney.
The Parliament of Religions opened on 11 September 1893 at the World's Congress Auxiliary Building which is now The Art Institute of Chicago, and ran from 11 to 27 September, making it the first organized interfaith gathering.
Today it is recognized as the occasion of the birth of formal interreligious dialogue worldwide, with representatives of a wide variety of religions and new religious movements, including:
SWAMI VIVEKANANDA – THE FIRST ORATOR: Swami Vivekananda – a direct disciple of Ramakrishna - was a delegate introducing Hinduism at the opening session of the Parliament on 11 September. Initially nervous, he bowed to Saraswati, then began his speech with salutation, "Sisters and brothers of America!". To these words he got a standing ovation from a crowd of seven thousand, which lasted for two minutes.
When silence was restored, he began his address. He greeted the youngest of the nations on behalf of "the most ancient order of monks in the world, the Vedic order of sannyasins, a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance!"
Some the present (and missing) where:
1.The Jain preacher Virchand Gandhi was invited as a representative of Jainism. 2.The Buddhist preacher Anagarika Dharmapala was invited as a representative of Theravada Buddhism. 3.Soyen Shaku, the "First American Ancestor" of Zen. 4.An essay by the Japanese Pure Land master Kiyozawa Manshi, "Skeleton of the philosophy of religion" was read in his absence. 5.Swami Vivekananda belongs Bengali Kayastha community represented Hinduism as a delegate introducing Hinduism at the opening session. 6.Christianity was represented by G. Bonet Maury who was a protestant historian invited by Swami Vivekananda.
7.Islam was represented by Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb, an Anglo-American convert to Islam and the former US ambassador to the Philippines. 8.Rev. Henry Jessup addressing the World Parliament of Religions was the first to publicly discuss the Bahá'í Faith in the USA. 9.Theism or the Brahmo Samaj was represented by Pratap Chandra Majumdar. 10.The Theosophical Society was represented by the Vice-President of the society, William Quan Judge and by activist Annie Besant. 11.New religious movements of the time, such as Spiritualism and Christian Science. The latter was represented by Septimus J. Hanna. 12.Absent from this event were Native American religious figures, Sikhs and other Indigenous and Earth centered religionists; these religions and spiritual traditions were not represented until the 1993 Parliament convened.
In 1993, the Parliament convened at the Palmer House hotel in Chicago. Over 8,000 people from all over the world, from many diverse religions, gathered to celebrate, discuss and explore how religious traditions can work together on the critical issues which confront the world. A document, "Towards a Global Ethic: An Initial Declaration", mainly drafted by Hans Küng, set the tone for the subsequent ten days of discussion. This global ethic was endorsed by many of the attending religious and spiritual leaders who were part of the parliament assembly.