Jencius Coins Vatican, Italy & San Marino Coins, Medals & Stamps

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1986 John Paul II Meeting Rabbi in Synagogue 35mm

Note: This is an archived product and not currently available for sale.

1986 John Paul II Meeting Rabbi in Synagogue 35mm Photo

John Paul II is history's most traveled pope but this medal marks his shortest journey, yet one spanning the greatest length of time! In April of 1986, just before the Jewish Passover, John Paul ventured less than a mile, over the Tiber river, to Rome's central synagogue. Symbolically, it was a journey of more than 2,000 years, back to the 2nd century B.C. For many, this was John Paul's most significant venture.

Prior to the unification of Italy, over 150 years ago, the Jews of Rome had been under papal rule. There had been times when discrimination had been the order of the day, times when the papal authority forced the Jews into ghettos and disallowed them even the right to leave their walled city at night. In years past there was a saying, "Our persecution will end when the Pope enters the synagogue."

The time came for the pope to enter the synagogue on April 13, 1986 when John Paul II shared a moment of silent prayer with Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff before embracing.

Obverse displays the coat of arms of Vatican City, John Paul II, the menorah, along with the Star of David and the Christian cross. The Hebrew phase translates, "OUR HOUSE OF PRAYER IS FOR ALL PEOPLE," while the Latin phrase means "WE ARE ALL BROTHERS." The reverse shows both St. Peter's Basilica and Rome's main synagogue on a bridge over the Tiber.

The historic meeting was recorded with a special Italian cancellation on a cover with a printed cachet which houses the 35mm gilt bronze medal.

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John Paul II
Vatican City
Gilt Bronze
Sergio Giandomenico