On a lovely sunny Saturday, July 25, 2016, the Bell of Peace and Friendship was opened on Mount Hochstein in Lienz, East-Tirol in Austria. Representatives of diverse religions, including Islam, Christianity, Baha’i, Hinduism, and Buddhism sent prayers and good wishes for peace and friendship to the entire world.
Elisabeth Duregger-Ziegler of URI CC Interreligious Team East-Tirol and the Education for Peace Association first dreamt up the idea of a bell for peace and friendship eleven years ago at the 60th commemoration of the Cossack massacre. Elisabeth wanted a visual reminder of interfaith peace, an idea which resonated with many people.
With admirable endurance, Elisabeth fought against all obstacles, so the erection of the bell was a great success for her and everyone who helped make the project a reality—the Bell Foundry in constructing the bell, the carpenters who built the tower, the smiths who made the iron structures for the stones. More than 120 people came together for the opening ceremony, and there were not many dry eyes.
Elisabeth gathered most of the money herself, and some manpower and material were also donated. She and URI Europe hope that more donors will help cover the expenses of building and maintenance, and are seling Candles of Peace and incense herbs to do so.
Marianne Horling from URI Europe was there to support the project and also brought stones from the home countries of board members. The bell bears the inscription “For Peace and Friendship“ and the symbols of 12 different religions. Underneath, there is a platform where stones from more than 80 countries are set, even from Mecca, Jerusalem, and Stonehenge, and people can place their own stones around the bell as well. The bell is rung every evening in the name of hope, peace, and love, and visitors are encouraged to ring the bell to send good wish all over the world. People like to ring the bell and to send good wishes to all over the world.