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World's Parliament of Religions, 1893

The World's Parliament of Religions, the first formal gathering of representatives of major religious traditions of the world, took place from September 11 through September 27, 1893, in Chicago, Illinois. The Parliament was one of the 20 auxiliary Congresses at the World Columbian Exposition, an early world fair organized to mark the fourth centenary of Columbus's landing in America. The fair itself was deemed a “Festival of Peace,” in addition to being an exhibition of the material progress of humankind, with the Parliament as its crowning glory. As an unprecedented international interreligious meeting, the Parliament charted a new direction for religious gatherings.

Conceived by Chicago lawyer Charles C. Bonney, the president of the Congresses, and headed by Presbyterian minister Rev. John H. Barrows, the Parliament aimed ...

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