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Princess Michael of Kent to be guest of honour at Assisi

October 30, 2011:

Around 100 million people go on pilgrimage every year; the Green Pilgrimage Network will help the faiths to make their sacred sites and pilgrim cities as environmentally sustainable as possible according to their own theologies and understanding of the natural world. Representatives of 15 faith traditions from around the world are gathering in Assisi to launch the network in 11 major pilgrimage centres worldwide.

Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent has kindly agreed to be our guest of honour at the Sacred Land launch and celebration in Assisi, Italy. Unfortunately, due to illness, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh will not be able to attend as planned.

ARC Secretary-General Martin Palmer said: “It was with great sadness that we heard that His Royal Highness Prince Philip would be unable to join us due to illness. However, we are not surprised given the demanding trip that he’s just completed to Australia with Her Majesty the Queen.

While he will not be with us in body, we know he will be with us in spirit because without his vision 25 years ago, and his commitment ever since, this partnership between religions and environmental movements which we are celebrating at Assisi would never have started.

“We look forward to honouring him personally for the outstanding support he has given this movement for the last 25 years at a future occasion.

“While we wish Prince Philip a speedy recovery, we are delighted that HRH Princess Michael of Kent has agreed to represent him at the Sacred Land celebration.

“It is very appropriate that in one of the greatest Catholic pilgrimage centres of the world, HRH who is a devout Catholic herself, should now take a lead role in the launch of the Green Pilgrimage Network – of which Assisi is a founder member.

“Known for her love of history and the arts, and with three of her own conservation charities, HRH brings an awareness and understanding of the relationship between faith, culture and the environment which will greatly enhance our celebrations.”

HRH Princess Michael of Kent is married to Prince Michael of Kent, cousin to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She has a love of history and the arts and has written several best-selling historical books. She is also a lecturer, art consultant and interior designer.

Princess Michael is patron of three conservation organisations in Africa which are concerned with cheetahs in South Africa, rhino and wild dogs in Tanzania and an elephant and rhino orphanage in Kenya.

The Sacred Land event is organised by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) in association with WWF, and runs from Monday October 31 to Wednesday November 2.

It begins on Monday October 31 with a procession, beginning at 17.45, from the Basilica to the Monte Frumentario for the celebration with music, dance and faith rituals from 18.45. On Tuesday November 1, the Green Pilgrimage Network will be launched in a two-day event in Monte Frumentario with many international and Italian faith and secular delegates.

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More information

Faith cities in the Green Pilgrimage Network will include: Amritsar, India (Sikhism); Assisi, Italy (Catholic); Etchmiadzin, Armenia (Armenian Orthodox); Haifa, Israel (Bahà’ìsm); Kano, Nigeria (Islam’s Qadiriyyah Sufi tradition); Louguan, China (Daoism); St Albans, England (Church of England); Trondheim, Norway (Lutheran Church of Norway).

Other founder members of The Green Pilgrimage Network include Luss (Church of Scotland), Loch Lomond, in the National Trussochs National Park, whose Pilgrimage Pathway marks 1,500 years of Christianity; the Coptic Orthodox Church, which will green its St Pishoy Monastery at Wadi El Natroun in Egypt, visited by some 100,000 mainly Coptic Orthodox pilgrims every summer; Jinja Honcho, the Association of Shinto shrines in Japan, responsible for around 80,000 shrines, including many in forests that are the dwelling places of kami deities.

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