The world’s first hybrid church-mosque-synagogue will open in Berlin in May.
The project, which has been 12 years in the making at an expected cost of at least 47.2 million euro, is intended for use by Jews, Christians and Muslims to pray, worship, gather and host a dialogue among themselves and with society at large.
The idea for the “House of One” came to Protestant pastor Gregor Hohberg after he discovered the ruins of Berlin’s first church.
With the support of his parish, Hohberg sought out Jewish and Muslim partners – Rabbi Andreas Nachama, a former rabbi for the American military synagogue in Berlin’s southwest; and Imam Kadir Sanci, of the Forum for Intercultural Dialogue.
“At first we were conversation partners,” said Sanci, “then we were colleagues, and now we are friends. The focus was on togetherness, spending time together, learning together and cooperating on a major construction project,” he added. Hohberg added: “And by cooperating on a major construction project, you learn a lot about people through that!”
The House of One’s architectural design provides equal space for Jews, Christians and Muslims to pray, worship and gather under its roof. But the emphasis is on the spacious “Begegnungsraum,” or meeting place that connects them, where people of all backgrounds will be invited to build relationships of peace.
The House of One is not the first attempt at housing the Abrahamic faiths together. The House of Religions in Bern, Switzerland, opened in 2014, and the Tri-Faith Initiative in Omaha, Nebraska, in 2020.
The Temple of All Religions in Kazan, Russia, and the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., are both under construction. Other similar meeting places in Haifa, Vienna, and elsewhere have been compared to the House of One.