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World's Parliament of Religions

World's Parliament of Religions

While a reprise of the original World's Parliament of Religions in the centennial year of 1993 drew some attention, it was the one held during the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 that made history. Promoters of the exposition welcomed all kinds of satellite programs that helped bring people to Chicago, just as ambitious religionists took advantage of the crowds that came. The liberal Presbyterian minister John Henry Barrows was a major influence on the 17-day event. He saw the occasion as an opportunity to liberalize Christianity, encourage interreligious activities, and show forth the splendors of Jesus and the Christian faith. The Parliament's notable speakers included James Cardinal Gibbons for Roman Catholicism, Isaac Mayer Wise for Judaism, Mary Baker Eddy for Christian Science, Annie Besant for Theosophy, and reformer Frances Willard. Some of the participants later toured the United States, striving to help establish or renew institutions connected with their religious outlooks.

Seager, Richard Hughes, ed. Dawn of Religious Pluralism: Voices from the World's Parliament of Religions, 1893. 1993.
Seager, Richard Hughes. The World's Parliament of Religions: The East/West Encounter, Chicago, 1893. 1995