(Source: CD/Fides)

A choral invocation for those affected by COVID-19, for those who still suffer – in Italy and in the world – due to the pandemic and its social and economic consequences and for solidarity and social justice was raised yesterday afternoon from the cloister of the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence.

This is what was expressed by Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community Gad Fernando Piperno, Imam Izzedin Elzir, Pastor of the Waldensian Church Letizia Tomassone, dean of the Orthodox Communities of Tuscany Ioan Trandafir, rector of the Basilica Father Paolo Bocci and Don Alessandro Andreini, vice-president of the Opera di Santa Croce.

The prayer was opened by reading the messages of support from Cardinals Giuseppe Betori, Archbishop of Florence, and Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, as well from Prince of Jordan El Hassan Bin Talal, President of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies in Amman, always committed to dialogue among religions.

“Praying like this, gathered in this place full of beauty and history, is a strong gesture”, wrote Cardinal Ayuso Guixot, who is also President of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity which just a month ago, on May 14, promoted the global invocation to which yesterday’s prayer moment was linked.

“Not only do you recognise yourselves, but you try to recognise yourselves in a moment that is, yes, of otherness, but also of friendship and deep respect”, wrote Cardinal Ayuso Guixot.

“Recognising the other, brother or sister, when he turns to the Most High, listening to him, appreciating him, is a sign of commonality and sharing”.

“Our city has always cultivated fraternity”, wrote Cardinal Betori.

“Today you are here to renew, in a certain sense, that spirit of fraternity, without forgetting the many people who are suffering serious economic and social consequences with the loss of work, poverty and abandonment”.

Prince El Hassan Bin Talal stressed: “The dramatic effects of the pandemic must not simply be forgotten with the return to the previous normalcy, so that those who have been affected, the most vulnerable, end up being relegated to the inhuman archives of history”.

“Has the time not come for our world to adopt – in the words of Vatican II – a ‘a sacrament of unity’ for the entire human family? Or – in the words of the Council and of al-Azhar – ‘a sacrament of unity’ for ‘human fraternity?'”

More on Novena on interfaith dialogue during COVID-19:

Vatican cardinal urges world to seize COVID-19 opportunity “to lay a new foundation for defeating all injustice and inequality”

14/5: Pope joins interfaith call to prayer for end to COVID-19, implores end to “terrible pandemics” of hunger, war, uneducated children

Muslim, Catholic leaders launch joint appeal to make post-COVID-19 world “a better place for fraternity than ever before”

Interfaith groups insist on need for “ambitious and urgent” climate action despite COVID-19


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.