May 8, 2014

Israeli Parliament will hold special meeting to pay tribute to Pope John XXIII


Eduardo Eurnekian: “This initiative is a well-merited tribute to one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century”

Next 13 May, the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) will pay an unprecedented tribute to Pope John XXIII, born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, in recognition of his humanitarian activities during the Holocaust and of his contribution to the promotion of the interreligious dialogue.

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. Later, during his tenure as Pope John XXIII, he was the great promoter of a new climate of dialogue, respect and reconciliation, through the declaration of the document Nostra Aetate, a declaration that opened the door to the historic Second Vatican Council. Roncalli was also responsible for removing he word “perfidious” from the prayer for the conversion of the Jews usually read during the Good Friday liturgy.

The event at the Knesset, under the auspices of its Speaker, Mr. Yuli Edelstein, Speaker of the Knesset will be attended by members of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, political, scholar and religious figures.

Professor Alberto Melloni, one of the leading specialists in John XXIII, will participate in the event and be one of the keynote speakers.

The tribute will begin at 11:30 with a special meeting of the Education Committee, chaired by Amram Mitzna.

Later, members of the Wallenberg Foundation, along with other personalities will be received by Mr. Edelstein, at his office.

At 16:30, several members of Parliament will pronounce short speeches to evoke the figure and deeds of Pope John XXIII. Among the speakers will be Tzachi Hanegbi, Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Cardinal Loris Capovilla, personal secretary of Pope John XXIII, sent a letter of support through the Wallenberg Foundation. In 2013 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 published a voluminous scientific dossier supporting the application for recognition of Roncalli as “Righteous Among the Nations.” The document can be reached by clickin on the link below.

Moreover, in 2003 the Wallenberg Foundation presented a commemorative Postal Card of Angelo Roncalli at the Apostolic Nunciature in Buenos Aires.

Two years later, in 2005, the Wallenberg Foundation 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.