Lonavla is famous for its pleasant climate on the Deccan Plateau, two hours from Mumbai. Sixty scholars have gathered there for the Fourth Christian-Hindu Symposium, which was first held in 2002 at Castelgandolfo, Italy a year after the visit of Chiara Lubich to India where she encountered members of the Ghandian academic community of this Asian nation. It was an absolute first. The Focolare Movement, already active in the field of interreligious dialogue for ten years, had never had the opportunity of addressing academic and theological topics among followers of different religions and traditions. Since 2002 academic projects with Buddhists, Jews and Muslims have taken place in Rome, Italy and other parts of the world.
The discovery and growing appreciation for the value of dialogue in the academic field between followers of different faiths, although it should never become the main or exclusive priority, has become increasingly important for a true knowledge of the spirituality, rituals and ethics of the other.
The title of the event offers a vital insight into what will be explored intellectually. Among the Christians – in addition to representatives from the Focolare Movement in India – there will also be members of the Focolare’s Abba School (a Focolare center for studies) and from the Focolare’s Center for Interreligious Dialogue. On the Hindu side, the attendees will include Gandhians who are involved in social and practical issues, as well as university professors who are affiliated with various prestigious universities.