Ex-Moscow chief rabbi meets with Pope over Ukraine invasion

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Pope Francis leaves at the end of his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square at The Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. (AP Photo Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis leaves at the end of his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square at The Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022. (AP Photo Alessandra Tarantino)

President of the Conference of European Rabbis and former Moscow chief rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt met with Pope Francis earlier this week to discuss both Russia’s war against Ukraine and the issue of kosher slaughter in Europe, his office says.

The two religious leaders met in Rome on Sunday, Goldschmidt says.

Goldschmidt served as chief rabbi of Moscow until July when he was formally ousted from his position some four months after leaving Russia shortly after the start of the invasion. Since then he has fiercely criticized Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin for the war and for the subsequent crackdown on civil life in the country.

He has been chastised by other Russian rabbis for choosing to leave his congregation in order to more freely oppose Russia’s war.

“It is an honor to continue voicing the concerns of the Jewish communities of Europe before Pope Francis, who received me with such a warm welcome. I believe religious leaders must proclaim what they believe is right, morally and for their followers, however outspoken these messages may be. For decades and especially since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, I have done this,” Goldschmidt says following his meeting with the pope.

Most Popular