Riga to play host to 15,000 young believers on New Year

About 15,000 young people are to arrive in Riga in late December for the annual meeting of the Taizé Community ecumenical order, reported LTV's Panorāma on December 4.

From 28 December 2016 to 1 January 2017 the 39th European meeting will take place in Rīga, with the Ķīpsala exhibition hall and Arena Riga turned into places of worship. 

The program will see discussions and seminars dedicated to faith and society, politics, art and culture. 

Hanyol Shin, a member of the order, said that the goal of the event is promoting solidarity and mutual understanding.

"For the 39th time we're organizing the European meeting in different countries. [We're doing it] to create a bridge between different states and their cultures, especially at a time when conflicts and war are taking place across the world," he said.

Organizers are looking for places to lodge the participants.

Writer and publicist Otto Ozols invited people to host the participants.

"It's simple hospitality," he said.

"We have to show the world that we're like this, because it's not an advertisement at CNN or shiny magazines that showcases a country or a nation - it's rather a simply humane attitude," he said.

The Taizé Community organizes a meeting every year around New Year in a large European city, drawing tens of thousands of young adults who stay in simple lodgings or with host families. Latvia is the first Baltic country to host an event of such a scale.

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