Chanukah at the Vatican
Dec. 24, 1997
VATICAN (CWN) -- For the first time, Vatican officials and representatives of the Israeli government joined in a ceremony to celebrate Chanukah in the Vatican gardens yesterday, December 23, at nightfall. The ceremony also marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Israeli state.
The Holy See was represented at the ceremony by Cardinal Edward Cassidy, whose duties include oversight of Jewish-Christian relations; and Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the secretary for relations with states. Israel was represented by Aharon Lopez, the ambassador to the Holy See, and Moshe Katzav, vice prime minister in charge of tourism.
Similar ceremonies, marking both Chanukah and the anniversary of Israel's founding, were held in 33 cities around the world.
As he lit the first candle of the celebration, as the representative of Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Cassidy explained that the feast of Chanukah celebrates "the victory of principles on compromise, on faith above force," and suggested that the same principles should be brought to the fore today. Under those circumstances, he said, Israel could look forward to a life of peace and security for all its peoples.