Historic event brings Porto's Jews and Catholics together

Unprecedented meeting promotes dialogue and understanding between communities, their heritage, culture, and religion.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Attendees at the event
Attendees at the event
Courtesy of CIP

An historic event Tuesday in Porto, Portugal, brought together the city's Jewish and Catholic communities.

The unprecedented meeting of the two communities promoted dialogue and understanding between them, their heritage, culture and religion.

Under the Global Project in the Fields of Culture and Religion, the Jewish Community of Oporto and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oporto met in an unprecedented interfaith gathering between the two Portuguese communities.

At 10:30am, hosted by the Bishop of Oporto, Dom Manuel Linda, twenty faithful of each community were joined in dialogue at the Catholic Episcopalian Palace. Together, they visited the Catholic museum, and the Jewish community presented a gift of financial aid to two of Oporto charities.

At 11:30am, for a better understating of their history and experiences, the delegations visited the Jewish Museum of Oporto.

The event ended in a common lunch at the Kadoorie - Mekor Haim Synagogue.

The protocol Global Project in the Fields of Culture and Religion was established to reinforce the relationship between both communities, in cooperation.

“This project is a cut with the past of misunderstandings and certainty of a future made hand in hand. It is unique in the world, as Oporto is also unique,” said D. Manuel Linda, Bishop of Oporto.

President of the Jewish Community of Oporto, Dias ben Zion, said: “It is difficult to achieve positive relationships between Catholics and Jews without social, cultural and interfaith cooperation.”

“Social, cultural and other dialogue is necessary to achieve full tolerance between the Roman Catholic Church and Jewish communities, particularly in societies in which negative stereotypes are entrenched, ignoring for example the fact that many Jews struggle financially,” explained Gabriela Cantergi, member of the board of the Jewish Community in charge of interfaith relations.

The Jewish Community of Oporto has devised a global project involving close cooperation with Oporto Roman Catholic Diocese on social causes, helping children, the elderly and the sick; promotion of the Jewish Museum and the Episcopal Palace Museum; the production of four films covering events that have occurred over the centuries in the Portuguese society. The proceeds from films in Portugal will go to social causes.

These initiatives have received financial and practical support from Jewish philanthropic families as well as organisations such as the Embassy of the State of Israel in Portugal, B´nai B´rith International and Anti-Defamation League.

The Jewish museum and films mentioned depict true events and have won the respect of Roman Catholic Church organisations, and the scripts and rough cuts were shown beforehand to the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oporto.