Pope Francis to visit synagogue in Rome ghetto

Pope to become third pontiff to visit Rome's main synagogue, in ghetto where Jews were confined by Vatican until end of 1800s.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Pope Francis
Pope Francis
Uri Lenz/POOL/Flash 90

Pope Francis is to become the third pontiff to visit Rome's main synagogue, where he will meet members of the Italian capital's Jewish community on January 17, the Vatican announced Tuesday.

Rome's Great Synagogue is located just across the River Tiber from the Vatican, in an area still known as the Ghetto where, under the orders of Francis's predecessors, Jews were confined for more than three centuries until their emancipation at the end of the 19th Century.

John-Paul II became the first pope to visit the synagogue in 1986 and Francis's predecessor Benoit XVI followed suit in 2010, underlining improved relations between the two faiths.

Ties have become warmer under Francis, who has a long-standing friendship with Argentinian rabbi Abraham Skorka, with whom he jointly published a book of conversations about issues of ethics, morality and faith.

AFP contributed to this report.