May 2005

”Jerusalem and Its Saints” Symposium

The Tantur Ecumenical Institute of Jerusalem organized on May 29 and 30 last a symposium on the theme ”Jerusalem and its Saints”. The main conference was given by Reverend Daniel Findikyan, Theology professor at the Armenian Seminar of New York. The program of the meeting emphasized the theme of saints in the Orthodox Christian tradition.

Consul Carl Lutz Commemorated in a Synagogue in New York

On the thirtieth anniversary of the death of diplomat Carl Lutz, Swiss General Consul at Budapest during the Second World War, Raul Wallenberg International Foundation and Park East Synagogue of New York held a religious ceremony in honor of the deceased consul’s humanitarian activities. Carl Lutz issued tens of thousands of ” letters of protection” to Jews persecuted by the Nazi Regime and created ”Refugee Houses” for them in Budapest, thus saving the lives of sixty two thousand persons.

The event, which took place on May 11th, was attended by Ms. Agnes Hirschi, daughter of the honored diplomat.

Blessed Maria Elisabetta Hesselblad Declared ”Righteous Among the Nations”

Blessed Maria Elisabetta Hesselblad, Swedish founder of the Order of The Most Holy Saviour of Saint Bridget, has been proclaimed ”Righteous Among Nations” because of the aid given to the Jews of Rome during the Second World War. The medal which attests this recognition will be given to her successor as abbess general of the Order, Mother Maria Telka Famiglietoi, by a representative of the State of Israel, on June 3, during a ceremony which will take place at the ”Palazzo della Cancelleria” in Rome.

IRWF Congratulates Vatican State Secretary

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation has offered its congratulations to Cardinal Angel Sodano for having been confirmed in his post as Vatican Secretary of State by Pope Benedict XVI, who also appointed him Dean of The College of Cardinals.

International Conference for the Fortieth Anniversary of Nostrae Aetate Declaration

The Institute for the Study of Religions and Cultures and the Cardinal Bea Centre of Jewish Studies of The Gregorian University in Rome organize an International Conference to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of Vatican Council II ‘s Declaration ”Nostrae Aetate” which will take place on September 25 to 28.

Cardinal Announces Three Goals for Jewish-Christian Relations

Cardinal Walter Kasper, Chairman of the Pontifical Council for the promotion of Christian Unity and the Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, attended a Symposium which took place on March 14 last in the Catholic University of America, where he emphasized the three principal points that according to his opinion must be fulfilled to obtain a better development of Jewish- Catholic relationships: The deepening of historical studies, the stressing of theological analysis and the promotion of social and charitable work.

Historical Visit of the Pope to a Synagogue in Germany Announced

The announcement that the new Pope, Benedict XVI expressed his intention of visiting the Synagogue of Cologne, Germany next August was made in a special meeting summoned by the authorities of the Raoul Wallenberg International Foundation, the Angelo Roncalli International Committee (ARIC) and the Interfaith Association-Jerusalem, which took place in New York.

The spirit of brotherhood radiated by the commemorative mural for the Victims of the Holocaust in the Cathedral of Buenos Aires and its replica in the Vaterunser Evangelic Church in Berlin will celebrate the coming historical visit of Pope Benedict XVI when he visits the Synagogue of Cologne, since they are symbolic testimonies of the dialogue and brotherhood that must prevail among all human beings, over and beyond their differences of religion, ethnia, gender, nationality or language. These are precisely the ideals that inspire the Raoul Wallenberg International Foundation and the Angelo Roncalli International Committee.

Catalonian Inter-religious Web Established

The Catalonian Web of Inter-religious Dialogue Entities, which groups ten religious groups and entities of the territorial area of Catalonian language, was officially established in Barcelona. The web, whose principal objective is the practice and spreading of dialogue between the different religious confessions, will be coordinated by the Ubesco Association for Inter-religious Dialogue.

Along with the interchanging of information and the coordination between agencies, the web has as a purpose the annual organization of a Catalonian Parliament of Religions, the first edition of which took place on May 29th in Barcelona. The event achieved the support of the Blanc Sabadell Foundation, the General Board for religious Matters of the Generalitat ( Government of Catalonia) and the Council for Women and Civil Rights of the Ayuntamiento ( Municipal Government) of Barcelona.

Israel Emits a Stamp in Remembrance of John Paul II

The State of Israel has dedicated a stamp commemorative of John Paul II on occasion of the anniversary of his birth, May 18, on which day the deceased Pope would have reached the age of eighty five. The Sunday edition of ”L’Osservatore Romano” informed that this was announced officially by the Embassy of Israel to the Holy See, specifying that the philatelic emission reproduces the historical image if John Paul II before the West Wall of Jerusalem.

According to the Holy See newspaper, the Israeli Environmental Agency (KKL) has also announced that it is sponsoring the creation of the ”Park of Encounter for the Pope of Youth” in Galilee, a place related to Christianity, where an amphitheatre will also be built.. The purpose of the initiative is to develop in youths belonging to the different monotheist religions, a culture of dialogue in order to construct a future of peace

Translation: María Lía Macchi