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Spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Patriarch of Venice. Papal nuncio in Bulgaria/Turkey, Greece and France. Convened the Second Vatican Council. 

 

TLS - Typewritten Letter Signed, two sides of his biglietto (correspondence card) as Apostolic Delegate to Istanbul. Written to Contessina Maria Radini Tedeschi. Wonderful content with reference to WWII.  Reads:  This note, which will be a surprise to you, tells you how my memory, even if silent, is always alive and faithful. Oh! how many times I come to look for it when I pray, and the cherished images of my life pass and pass before me! After 26 years since our beloved Monsignor left, (Bishop Giacomo Radini-Tedeschi) I still continue to live by him, by his teaching, and by the affectionate devotion that he inspires in me. And you, Contessina, how are you doing? And Pippo and Countess Maria, and the other relatives? This year silence, silence. But not of the heart though. Circumstances took away the pleasure of returning to Italy but the sacrifice is very light if you think about the sacrifice millions and millions of human lives that war inexorably overwhelms. We hope that the great tribulation will be resolved for everyone in a great peace that will allow us to spend the last years of our lives in peace. My health is good. But the tree's foliage (euphemism) has now almost disappeared in the autumn whiteness. It is enough that the spirit remains ready and happy. Let it be so with all of me. Please remember me to Count Pippo, and tell him to forgive me my silence: and greet Countess Maria and the two sisters Anna and Maria Felice: all dear souls embellished by today's anniversary which is a wish and a blessing.

 

Roncalli remained in Bulgaria at the time that World War II commenced, optimistically writing in his journal in April 1939, "I don't believe we will have a war". When the war began, he was in Rome, meeting with Pope Pius XII on 5 September 1939. In 1940, (the time of this letter) Roncalli was asked by the Vatican to devote more of his time to Greece; therefore, he made several visits in January and May of that year. He maintained close relations with the Jews and also intervened to convince Bulgaria's Tsar Boris III to cancel deportations of Greek Jews during the Nazi occupation of Greece.

JOHN XXIII, Saint & Pope (1881-1963)

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