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Pope Sends Condolences on Death of Former Chief Rabbi of Rome

Rabbi Elio Toaff Praised For Promoting Dialogue Between Jews and Catholics

Pope Francis expressed his condolences following the death of Rabbi Elio Toaff, the former Chief Rabbi of Rome. He passed away yesterday at the age of 99, only 10 days prior to his 100thbirthday.

Rabbi Toaff was Chief Rabbi when St. John Paul II made his historical visit to Rome’s synagogue in 1986. The visit marked a significant turning point in Judeo-Christians relations.

In his letter, Pope Francis said that the Rabbi Toaff “was able to conquer the common esteem and appreciation for his moral authority, together with a profound humanity.”

The Holy Father also recalled his predecessor’s visit to the Roman synagogue. “I recall with gratitude his generous commitment and his sincere willingness to promote dialogue and fraternal relations between Jews and Catholics that saw a significant moment in his memorable encounter with Saint John Paul II at the Synagogue of Rome.”

Below is the full translation of the Pope’s letter to Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Rome:

I wish to express my heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved family members and the entire Jewish community of Rome for the death of Prof. Rabbi Elio Toaff, long distinguished spiritual leader of the Jewish people of Rome.

Protaganist of the civil and Jewish Italian history in the last decades, he was able to conquer the common esteem and appreciation for his moral authority, together with a profound humanity.

I recall with gratitude his generous commitment and his sincere willingness to promote dialogue and fraternal relations between Jews and Catholics that saw a significant moment in his memorable encounter with Saint John Paul II at the Synagogue of Rome.

I offer prayers to the Most High, full of love and fidelity, so that he may welcome him into His Kingdom of Peace.

From the Vatican, April 20, 2015

Franciscus

About Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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