Vatican City, 20 April 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a letter of condolences to the Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, for the death yesterday of his predecessor in this role, Rabbi Elio Toaff, at the age of 99. The following is the full text of the letter.
“I wish to express my heartfelt participation in the mourning of the family and the entire Jewish community of the capital following the departure of the Rabbi Professor Elio Toaff, the long-time spiritual guide of the Jews of Rome.
A key figure in Italian Jewish and civil history during recent decades, he knew how to earn esteem and appreciation through his moral authority, linked to a profound humanity.
I recall with gratitude his generous efforts and sincere willingness to promote dialogue and fraternal relations between Jews and Catholics, which experienced a significant moment in his memorable encounter with St. John Paul II at the Synagogue of Rome.
I raise prayers that the Almighty, rich in love and faithfulness, welcome him in His Kingdom of peace”.