Vatican Announces Sainthood for Pope Paul VI Who Made History With Israel Visit and Reached Out to Jews

Paul VI, who reigned from 1963-1978, visited Jerusalem in January 1964 on a brief trip to Israel and Jordan

A Catholic faithful prays at the grave of blessed Salvadorean Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero (1917-1980) after Pope Francis announced his canonization, in San Salvador on May 19, 2018
AFP PHOTO / Marvin RECINOS

Pope Paul VI, the first pontiff to visit Israel and open the Roman Catholic Church to formal dialogue with the Jewish world, will be canonized on October 14.

The Vatican made the announcement of Paul’s impending sainthood on Saturday.

Paul will be canonized along with the assassinated Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, an activist for the poor who was shot dead in 1980 while celebrating mass.

Paul VI, who reigned from 1963-1978, visited Jerusalem in January 1964 on a brief trip to Israel and Jordan. It marked the first time a reigning pope had visited the Holy Land, but at the time the Vatican did not recognize Israel as a state, and Paul did not pronounce the word “Israel.”

Israel and the Holy See established full diplomatic relations in 1993. Pope Francis visited Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority in 2014, in part to mark the 50th anniversary of Paul VI’s trip.

Paul also closed the Second Vatican Council and began overseeing the implementation of its reforms. These included the landmark Nostra Aetate declaration of 1965 that opened the way to formal Catholic-Jewish dialogue.