Religious leaders will participate in a three-day event celebrating the first World Day of Prayer

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will join Pope Francis in Assisi to mark the 30th anniversary of the first World Day of Prayer in 1986, when leaders representing 32 Christian organisations and 11 other religions converged to pray and fast together.

According to a schedule published by the Vatican, other religious leaders including Patriarch Bartholomew, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, and leaders of the Muslim, Jewish and Tendai Buddhist communities are invited to Assisi on September 20 to pray for peace. The event’s theme is “Thirst for Peace: Faiths and Cultures in Dialogue”.

Several victims of war will join Pope Francis and the other religious leaders at a luncheon in the Franciscan friars’ convent. In the afternoon, the Pope will hold private meetings with many of the religious leaders, including Archbishop Welby and the patriarchs.

Pope Francis will participate in the concluding ceremonies of a three-day event sponsored by the Rome-based Community of Sant’Egidio. He will also participate in an ecumenical prayer service in the lower Basilica of St Francis.

After their prayer services, the Pope and religious leaders will meet in the square outside the basilica to listen to the testimony of a victim of war, to share their thoughts about peace-making and to sign a common appeal.