This Sunday, Pope Francis will visit the Great Synagogue of Rome. The Eternal City's Jewish community is one of the oldest in the world and has already been visited by two other popes.
Pope John Paul II was the first, in 1986. His visit made a powerful impression.
POPE JOHN PAUL II
April 13, 1986
"You are our dearly beloved brothers and, in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers.”
Pope Benedict XVI visited the same synagogue in 2010. The first German Pope in modern times did not miss the opportunity to highlight how the Jewish community suffered during the Nazi era.
POPE BENEDICT XVI
January 17, 2010
"Here in this place, how could we not remember the Roman Jews who were snatched from their homes, before these very walls, and who with tremendous brutality were killed at Auschwitz?”
But, above all, the German Pope suggested that he had come in the tradition of the Second Vatican Council and the pope before him. It is a way of openness and sincere dialogue that the current Pope has also followed.
October 25, 2015
"From enemies and strangers we have become friends and brothers.”
Pope Francis' visit will come during a special moment. His prayer intentions for the month of January call for dialogue between religions.
"I trust in you to spread my petition this month.”
The Jewish community in Rome holds Pope Francis in high esteem. During his three years as Pope, he has made several gestures of fraternity with the Jewish people. Perhaps the most famous was when he hugged a Jewish Rabbi and Muslim Imam at the Wailing Way in the Holy Land.