2015-11-17 17:18:00

Pope Francis to visit Rome Synagogue in January

(Vatican Radio) The Holy See Press Office on Tuesday announced on Tuesday Pope Francis will visit the Great Synagogue of Rome, at the invitation from the Chief Rabbi and Jewish Community of the city.

The visit will take place in the afternoon of 17 January 2016, and will be the third visit by a Pope to the Great Synagogue of Rome, following John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

“We look at this visit with renewed joy because it is the third visit but, obviously, every step must be accomplished, and nothing should be taken for granted,” said Fabio Perugia, the spokesman for the Jewish Community of Rome. “It is a great sign in the path of dialogue that began with John Paul II, continued with Pope Benedict XVI, and is now renewed with Pope Francis.”

Perugia told Vatican Radio he hopes the visit will “open new doors of dialogue” between the two faiths.

He also acknowledged the importance of the visit in the wake of terrorist attacks done for supposedly religious motives.

“Surely, the forces for good in the world must come together when we witness such inhumane tragedies,” he said.  “I believe the Chief Rabbi and Pope Francis will have the opportunity to talk during this visit also about the peace efforts which are being made to give a new injection of humanity in this wounded Europe.”

The statement from the Holy See Press Office said the visit will take the form of a personal encounter between Pope Francis  and the representatives of Judaism and the members of the Community. A more detailed programme of the visit will be published before the event.

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