By Jaume de Marcos, Co-Founder of the Sociedad Unitaria Universalista de España
The Parliament of the World's Religions closed its third gathering in the modern era (the fourth including the now almost legendary 1893 Parliament) last July 13th with the thundering of the Japanese drums of the Taiko Ensemble. Over 7,000 participants from 85 countries gathered for seven days celebrated their diversity and living and working together in spite of (or even because of) their differences.
Among more than 500 panels and workshops, the panel on Michael Servetus was particularly noteworthy and had a remarkable attendance of 60+ participants who completely filled the room that had been assigned for this activity. The panel was co-organized by the Unitarian Universalist Society of Spain (www.suue.org) and the Michael Servetus Institute of Studies (www.miguelservet.org).
Panelists included Unitarian minister and Hon. Secretary of the World Congress of Faiths, Rev. Richard Boeke, who unfolded a very suggestive speech on the Servetian concept of the "Breath of Life", and several distinguished Spanish Servetian scholars. Dr. Fernando Solsona, an eminent physician and biographer of Servetus, talked about Servetus as a Renaissance sage with many different and deep areas of knowledge such as medicine, theology, geography, and astrology. Prof. Ana Gómez Rabal concentrated on the importance of textual analysis in Servetus as a way to discern religious truth. Finally, Prof. Ferrer Benimeli explained on the importance of Voltaire in the rediscovery of Servetus as a key figure in the struggle for freedom of conscience and belief.