By Justin Cohen, News editor, Jewish News 

The Chief Rabbi will hold talks with Pope Francis at the Vatican this week.

Ephraim Mirvis will be accompanied by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, head of the catholic Church in England and Wales, for the private audience which is expected to cover issues including Jewish-Catholic relations and the role of faith in the public square.

The Pope prays at the Western Wall

The Pope prays at the Western Wall

The first meeting between the pair comes ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Nostra Aetate document, a watershed in Vatican relations with other faiths. It insisted the Jewish community cannot be held responsible for the death of Christ and that the community should not be seen as having been rejected by God.

The Chief Rabbi said: “Today we face challenges that could not have been accounted for by Nostra Aetate fifty years ago, such as the widespread secularisation of our society and the dramatic increase in prejudice against minority faith communities. We treasure the spirit of collaboration between our faiths and I look forward to discussing these and other pressing issues with Pope Francis.”