The brotherhoods of Macarena, Cristo de la Corona and Soledad de Cantillana will take part in the meeting "The Soul of Cultures" from 1 to 3 March

Three Cultures Foundation and the Kadiriya Brotherhood bring together Christian, Muslim and Jewish brotherhoods in Morocco

Sede de la Fundación Tres Culturas
photo_camera Three Cultures Foundation

From 1 to 3 March, the Three Cultures Foundation of the Mediterranean and the Kadiriya Brotherhood of Essaouira are co-organising a unique and pioneering event of its kind, a series of days of coexistence between Muslim, Christian and Jewish brotherhoods in the Moroccan city of Essaouira under the title "The Soul of Cultures"

  1. Context of "The Soul of Cultures"
  2. Programme 

This programme will be inaugurated on the 1st by André Azoulay, co-president of the Three Cultures Foundation and advisor to the King of Morocco; Enrique Ojeda Vila, who has just taken up his post as Spanish ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco; Enric Millo, Secretary General for External Action, European Union and Cooperation of the Ministry of the Presidency, Interior, Social Dialogue and Administrative Simplification of the Andalusian Regional Government (a collaborating institution in this meeting); and Tarik Ottmani, Mayor of Essaouira. Lorena García de Izarra, Director of the Three Cultures Foundation, will also be present. 

This project began last year, promoted by Hicham Dinar, Moqadem (equivalent to elder brother of the brotherhood) of the Kadiriya of Essaouira, bringing together Muslim and Jewish brotherhoods. In this second edition, the Three Cultures Foundation has joined the project by incorporating the participation of three brotherhoods from the province of Seville: the Macarena, the Cristo de la Corona and the Soledad de Cantillana.

In fact, several members of these brotherhoods will actively participate in these intense days, which will include colloquiums and working sessions on aspects such as the history, liturgies and customs of the brotherhoods in the three religions; the points of union and future alliances between the brotherhoods in areas such as social action and charity; and the material and intangible heritage of the brotherhoods of Andalusia and Morocco. 

To address these issues, there will also be contributions from experts from both sides of the Strait, such as Antonio Zoido, president of the Machado Foundation, which is collaborating in this initiative; Gema Carrera, PhD in Social Anthropology and head of the Centre for Documentation and Studies of the Andalusian Institute of Historical Heritage; and José María Davó, cultural and scientific advisor to the Spanish Embassy in Morocco. 

On the Moroccan side, the speakers include Oumama Aouad, former ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco and university professor; and Youssef Agmir, professor of the History of Spanish-Moroccan Relations.

This conference is part of the International Festival "The Soul of Cultures" which, along with these sessions of reflection and debate, includes concerts, cultural events and meetings of the three religions, such as a Sufi evening, a Jewish ceremony in the Essaouira Synagogue and a sung mass in the Church of Notre Dame in the same city, where the group Herencia de la Fundación Cristina Heeren will perform.  

This is how this project is organised, which aims to continue to grow in future editions, incorporating as many brotherhoods as wish to join it in order to promote understanding and mutual respect, fostering understanding between different religions and beliefs; overcoming prejudices and breaking down stereotypes through knowledge; and learning about the similarities shared by Christian, Muslim and Jewish religions. 

All this with the ultimate goal of promoting, each from their respective brotherhood or field of work, cooperation and joint action between the communities of the three monotheistic religions, to address common problems, promote social welfare, peaceful coexistence and conflict resolution in a non-violent manner. 

These aims are in line with the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Common Coexistence, signed five years ago by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyeb, in which they recorded in writing their common commitment to coexistence among peoples, harmony and respect for diversity.

Fundación Tres Culturas
Three Cultures Foundation

Context of "The Soul of Cultures"

The cultural ties shared by Andalusia and Morocco are very numerous, due to the geographical proximity and the long history of exchange between the two regions, such as in Islamic architecture with the presence of mosques, palaces and other Moorish-style buildings. Andalusian and Moroccan music and dance also share a large number of influences, such as the use of traditional instruments (flamenco guitar, the lute or the oud), as well as gastronomy, festivities and language, with similar words and expressions in both languages. 

Similarly, there are many common elements between the three monotheistic religions, among which we can highlight the following: 

  1. Prayer. In all three religions, prayer is an essential part of religious life. Believers pray regularly at specific times of the day and on special occasions. 
  2. Fasting. Fasting is practised by believers in all three religions as a form of purification and self-discipline. Jews observe Yom Kippur, Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan and Christians observe the Lenten fast. 
  3. Pilgrimages. All three religions have holy sites to which believers make pilgrimages. Jews may visit the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, Muslims make the pilgrimage to Mecca and Christians visit places such as the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. 
  4. Religious celebrations. Each religion has specific festivals and celebrations. For example, Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, and Christians celebrate Christmas and Easter. 
  5. Study of religious texts. All three religions value the study of sacred texts: the Bible for Christians, The Quran for Muslims and the Torah for Jews. 
  6. Charity and works of mercy. All these religions emphasise the importance of helping the needy and performing works of charity. Believers strive to practice compassion and justice in their daily lives.


Friday, 1st March  

10.00-11.00h. Bayt Dakira. Opening of the Conference  

- Hicham Dinar. Moqadem of the Zaouia Kadiriya of Essaouira and artistic director of the festival. 

- Tarik Ottmani. Mayor of Essaouira. 

- Enric Millo. Secretary General for External Action, European Union and Cooperation of the Andalusian Regional Government. 

- Enrique Ojeda. Ambassador of Spain to the Kingdom of Morocco. 

- André Azoulay. Advisor to H.M. the King of Morocco and co-president of the Three Cultures Foundation. 

11.00-12.30h. Colloquium: History, liturgies, ceremonies and customs of the Brotherhoods in the three religions. 

Moderator: Antonio Zoido. President of the Machado Foundation. 

- Youssef Akmir. Professor of History of Spanish-Moroccan Relations, Ibn Zohr University, Agadir-Morocco. Sanctity and Moroccan brotherhoods in Spanish ethnography, 1931-1936. 

- Víctor Padilla. Eldest Brother of the Brotherhood of the Santísimo Cristo de la Corona.  

Historical and ceremonial aspect of Catholic brotherhoods. 

- José Luis Notario. Consiliary Promoter of Worship of the Hermandad de la Macarena. 

- Antonio López. Brotherhood of La Soledad de Cantillana. Professor of History and Art. 

12.30 p.m. - 1.30 p.m. Working group: Fraternal, charitable and social brotherhoods; points of union and alliances. 

18.00h. Dar Souiri 

Concert by the Sufi brotherhoods of Essaouira: Chabab kheribga group, composed of Madih et Samaa Cherkaoui et Bouaazzaoui; Hmadcha group from Essaouira; Ganga group from Tamanar; Les origines du Gnaoua group from Essaouira. 

22.30h. Zaouia Kadiriya. Sufi religious ceremony 

A great Sufi mystical evening performed by the Sufi singers Madihin and Mossmiai, from the Zaouia Kadiriya with the participation of other Moroccan communities. A traditional evening and a spiritual journey of exception that will transport souls through mystical poetry and beautiful voices enhanced by panegyric songs on religious and spiritual themes. 

Saturday, 2nd March 

10.00-12.00h. Bayt Dakira 

Symposium: Material and Intangible Heritage of the Brotherhoods of Andalusia and Morocco, an opportunity for mutual knowledge. 

Moderator: Oumama Aouad. Former Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, university professor and member of the board of trustees of the Three Cultures Foundation. 

- Gema Carrera. PhD in Social Anthropology. Head of the Documentation and Studies Centre of the Andalusian Historical Heritage Institute. Andalusian Regional Government. Presentation of the Atlas of the Intangible Heritage of Andalusia. 

- Soufi ane Gudira. Researcher in the field of Andalusian and Sufi music. Musical culture in al-Andalus: images and connotations. 

- Saad Fallak. Writer and researcher. The image of al-Andalus in stories: space of coexistence and common destiny. 

- Benjelloul Sara. PhD student in Sociology at the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences of Casablanca. La tolerancia en al-Ándalus: la alta ley de convivencia y encuentro de todas las culturas: cristiana, judía y musulmana. 

- Hassan Laghdach. Professor of History and Aesthetics at the Royal Air Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco. The Andalusian heritage, from cohabitation to coexistence. 

- Hervey Levy. Head delegate of the Israeli Community of Agadir. 

21.00h. Essaouira Cultural Complex 

A musical evening full of surprises, bringing together icons of Muslim, Jewish and Christian music. The artists will perform pieces of Andalusian music and a selection of the musical heritage of Chgouri, Gharnati, Melhoun, Fl amenco and Sufi songs that are rooted in the rich repertoires of Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions.  

With the participation of the group Herencia of the Cristina Heeren Foundation of Seville and the Orchestra of Andalusian music of Essaouira, the Matrouz choir of Essaouira and artists such as Coco Diam's, Samia El Antari and Hicham Dinar, Anasss Bechachemi, Soufi ane Bengada and other artists under the artistic direction of Hicham Dinar. 

23.30h. Slat Attia Synagogue 

Jewish religious ceremony Piyoutim et Baqqachot. Spiritual evening in homage to the Suiri singers David Ifl ah and David Elkaim to discover the piyoutim poems of Morocco. 

Sunday, 3rd March 

11.00h. Church of Notre Dame d'Essaouira  

Mass sung by the group Herencia de la Fundación Cristina Heeren.  

12.30-14.30h. Bayt Dakira - Colloquium: From spirituality to fraternity, through charity.  

A path of concord in the three great religions of the Book. 

Moderator: José María Davó. Cultural and Scientific Counsellor of the Spanish Embassy in the Kingdom of Morocco. 

- Rabbi Rachidi Charkaoui. Professor and researcher in the history of religions.  

Extensions of the Moroccan Sufi smo in the Iberian Peninsula. 

- Yassin Ben Rawan. Researcher in Islamic thought. The culture of tolerance among the Sufis of the Moroccan Sahara. 

- Rachid Talha. Researcher in Moroccan Sufi Smo. The role of Sufism in the dissemination of the values of peace and tolerance. 

- Alejandro D. Mateos Gallegos. Brotherhood of the Santísimo Cristo de la Corona. The brotherhoods as an indispensable instrument of the Declaration of Human Fraternity. 

Conclusions and reading of the Manifesto: From spirituality to fraternity, towards a path of harmony in the three great religions of the Book.