Orthodox Christian and Jewish leaders opened a two-day religious summit in Thessaloniki yesterday with appeals for less fanaticism and better understanding between the world’s principal monotheistic faiths. Opening the conference, Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios expressed sorrow at persisting bigotry. «Fanatics are not the elect of a specific faith but rather the weakest among its believers,» Vartholomaios said. «The purpose [of the meeting] is not to persuade our interlocutors to change their faith, but only that they understand the thought processes of people who belong to a different religion and thus engage in a calm discussion on ways of doing away with fanaticism.» Israel Singer, chairman of the World Jewish Council, stressed the importance of religious diversity. «God needs each of us to serve the world from a different viewpoint, but always in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding.» Tomorrow, ultra-conservative Orthodox Church groups are to hold a protest against the summit.