When Pope Francis visits Bosnia in June, he will celebrate mass in Sarajevo from a wooden armchair carved by a local Muslim sculptor, in a touching show of interfaith cooperation in a multi-ethnic nation known for its tumultuous past, reports AFP.

Edin Hajderovac, a 33-year-old artist who lives and works in Zavidovici, a small town in northern Bosnia, specializes in making religious objects and ornaments. When the Pope's visit was announced, Hajderovac and his father Salem, a fellow sculptor, approached the local priest, Miro Beslic, about creating an intricately carved walnut chair for the leader of the Catholic church's use.

"This chair will do some good in Zavidovici because it brings together Muslims and (Croat) Catholics," Beslic told AFP, recalling the Bosnian War of 1992–95, which saw Muslims, Croats, and Serbs engaged in a bloody conflict. "Even though we are not really divided (now), there are still some tensions" lingering, he added.

In a statement announcing his journey to Bosnia, Pope Francis expressed the hope that the trip would "contribute to consolidating fraternity and peace" in the region.

Though work on the armchair began this week, the design is shrouded in secrecy, as the Church has asked Hajderovac not to share his progress with the press.

"It's an enormous pleasure for me to have been chosen from among all the candidates, including some more well-known sculptors," Hajderovac told AFP.


Original post HERE.