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Interculturality and Religious Experiences: The Primacy of the Human

The project «Interculturality and Religious Experiences: The Primacy of the Human» in Istanbul was an unforgettable experience for the 18 students and 4 teachers from San Ignacio School! For a week, participants were hosted by students and families from Haci Sabanci High School in Istanbul. They visited the Princes’ Islands, an archipelago in the Sea of Marmara, where they had a significant encounter with a Greek Orthodox priest at the seminary currently closed due to diplomatic conflicts between Turkey and Greece, and climbed to the Church of St. George. They explored Topkapi Palace, admiring its impressive treasures and royal harem.

In Hagia Sophia and the Church of St. Savior in Chora, our history teacher provided passionate explanations that made us understand the profound meaning of each image. This experience highlighted the educational power of learning history and art in the places where these events occurred.

They visited the Kuzguncuk neighborhood, an example of coexistence among the three monotheistic religions, where they saw a synagogue, an Armenian church, and a mosque. In the synagogue, they met with the rabbi to discuss the current situation generated by the war in Gaza, seeing how we all worship the same God. They listened to testimonies from the Dominican Fathers and met with young people of different faiths. They admired the stunning Byzantine mosaics in the Church of St. Savior in Chora and contemplated the Golden Horn from the terrace of Pierre Loti.

Additionally, they participated in a dialogue on religious experience, asking questions to the religion teachers from Haci Sabanci High School and San Ignacio School. They learned the art of Ebru and practiced traditional Ottoman folk dance, wearing typical costumes. This trip was a true gift. In an era of wars like this, you can’t imagine the value of this encounter. It was a transformative experience, highlighting the value of the human element that allows true encounters with others.

We want to express our deep gratitude to Melih, the head of international projects at Haci Sabanci, for his generous dedication and care towards our teachers and students. 🕌🎨💃🕊️


Fostering a deep appreciation for the cultural richness and diversity of Istanbul.
Providing students with an immersive learning experience about the history and art of Istanbul, historically known as Constantinople, exploring its grand historical legacy.
Facilitating meaningful interfaith dialogues to promote understanding, encounter, identity, and relationship.
Encouraging personal growth and the development of global citizenship skills through cultural exchange and the promotion of peace.


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