The Israeli Parliament is today holding a special meeting to pay tribute to Pope St,. John XXIII in recognition of his humanitarian activities during the Holocaust and his contribution to promoting interreligious dialogue.
The event at the Knesset, under the auspices of its Speaker, Yuli Edelstein, will be attended by members of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, political, scholar and religious figures.
In the 1940s, while serving as apostolic delegate in Istanbul, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli helped save the lives of thousands of European Jews persecuted by the Nazis. His decision to convene the Second Vatican Council led to the declaration Nostra Aetate which had a significant impact on improving the Church’s relations with Jews.
Speakers at today’s event include the Church historian and specialist in John XXIII, Professor Alberto Melloni, and several members of the parliament will give short speeches to evoke the figure and deeds of the newly canonized pontiff.
Cardinal Loris Capovilla, personal secretary to Pope John XXIII, has also sent a letter of support through the Wallenberg Foundation, an organization that researches Holocaust rescuers and advocates for their recognition.
In 2013 Cardinal Capovilla received the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Medal and he is a founder member of the Angelo Roncalli Committee, presented in 2000 at the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations.
Besides issuing stamps in his honor and the identification of public spaces with his name, the Wallenberg Foundation has published a voluminous scientific dossier supporting the application for recognition of Roncalli as “Righteous Among the Nations.”
In 2003, the foundation presented a commemorative postcard of Angelo Roncalli at the Apostolic Nunciature in Buenos Aires.
Two years later, the organisation invited Cardinal Walter Kasper, former President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, to bless the kindergarten room “Angelo Roncalli” in Argentina.