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Israel's Chief Rabbis ask Pope for "anti-Semitism" Day - historic meeting

The Pope endorsed a musical initiative in Rome on the weekend to foster harmony between the world's three major monotheist religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. There was also an historic 90 minute meeting between His Holiness and the two Chief Rabbis from Israel. The Chief Rabbis have asked the Pope to endorse a world "anti-Semitism Day". Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar said the Pope responded to the suggestion "positively".

All the major secular news agencies are carrying reports of the Pope's meeting with the two Chief Rabbis and of the orchestral performance by The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with choruses from Turkey, the United States, Britain and the Pope's native Poland in performances of part of Gustav Mahler's Second Symphony. The world premiere of "Abraham", a work by contemporary American composer John Harbison, was also performed. The event was financed and facilitated by the Knights of St Columbus especially to foster better relations between the world's three great monotheistic religions.

At the concert the Pope said: "The story of relations among Jews, Christians and Muslims is marked by light and shadows, and, unfortunately, has known painful moments. Today, one feels the pressing need for reconciliation among believers in the one God," the Pope said.

"The hope that we express together is that men will be purified of the hate and evil that continuously threaten peace and know how to lend each other a hand which knows no violence and is ready to offer help and comfort to those in need," he said.

Haaretz - Pope hosts chief rabbis at the Vatican (source of the story on the "anti-Semitism Day" proposal)
Vatican Information Service - Dialogue between Catholics, Chief Rabbinate is sign of hope
Associated Press/Yahoo - Vatican Seeks Religious Unity in Music
Zenit - Concert at Vatican Will Go Far Beyond Music
Zenit - Pope Tells Rabbis He Sees Hope in Dialogue - Israeli Embassy Calls Meeting "Historic"

19 Jan 2004