“We are pleased and grateful for this honour,” commented Gerhard Pross, spokesperson of the German project committee. “For us this provides a further boost that the spirit of “Together for Europe” – communion and Christian values – might shine more in society and in the Churches.” Past award winners have included ex-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl; Polish Archbishop Emeritus Alfons Nossol; and the Community of St. Egidio.
“Together for Europe” began in Ottmaring, Germany on the day of the signing of the historic “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification” (October 31, 1999). On that same day several Catholic and Evangelical Movements and New Communities were gathered at the Ecumenical Centre of Ottmaring to begin living the Gospel together. Gradually, “Together for Europe” emerged as “a free encounter between Christian movements – Catholics, Evangelicals, members of the Reformed Church, Anglicans and Orthodox. While remaining autonomous they act together on set occasions, offering the contribution of their particular charism and spirituality.” Their principle objective is to work together at “incrementing Europe’s Christian soul”.
The St Ulrich Award was instituted in 1993 by the European St. Ulrich Foundation in Dillingen, the birthplace of the saint, on the thousandth anniversary of his beatification. There is a strong push in this city and the surrounding region to work for peace and for the building of a Europe founded on Christian values.
The award is conferred every two years on individuals, projects or institutions involved in the political, religious, cultural, scientific, economic or social sphere for the unity of Europe in accordance with the spirit of St Ulrich. In the reasons set out for the 2014 Award it is stated that: “the Together for Europe network is committed to the promotion of a culture of communion and to a supportive community in Europe founded upon Christian values. It favours the development of freedom and humanitarian efforts which have been undermined by the financial and economic crises in Europe”.
Endowed with 10,000 Euro, the Award will be given to the “Together for Europe” International Guidance Committee in May 2014 in Dillingen.