Some 20,000 young Christians from all over the world are congregating in Basel for the 40th European Youth Gathering of the Taizé Community, an ecumenical Christian monastic order founded by a Swiss monk.
The five-day eventexternal link began on Thursday evening with a prayer session in the St Jakobshalle. Organisers say the 18- to 35-year-olds have come from around 45 countries, with almost 5,000 from Poland alone. Many are also coming from Ukraine and neighbouring Germany.
On the agenda is prayer and discussions of social issues. Participants will stay with host families, individuals or in shared flats. After Geneva ten years ago, Basel is the second Swiss city to host the annual event.
The Bishop of Basel said he was impressed by the coming together of various cultures, nationalities and lifestyles.
The Taizé Communityexternal link, based in Burgundy, France, comprises more than 100 Catholic and Protestant monks from about 30 countries.
swissinfo.ch and agencies/ts