Pesach, or Passover, is an eight-day Jewish celebration that commemorates how God freed the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt, as recounted in the Old Testament Book of Exodus.
“May the Almighty bless and accompany the journey of the beloved Jewish People”, writes Pope Francis. “May the Most High allow us to grow ever more in friendship and to be witnesses of peace and harmony”, he adds.
The Pope concludes with a request for prayers and with the greeting, “Chag sameach” – “Happy Feast” in Hebrew.
Pope Francis' message comes in response to similarly cordial greetings of “serenity, joy and peace” for Easter, sent to him by Rome’s Chief Rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni.
The exchange of greetings is particularly significant since this year the dates of the Christian celebration of Easter and the Jewish celebration of the Passover coincide.