Lustiger's casket
Photo: AFP
Jean Marie Lustiger
Photo: Reuters
Kaddish read at Lustiger's funeral
France bids farewell to Paris archbishop who was born Jewish and converted to Christianity during WW2

France bade farewell to Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger on Friday in a ceremony that mixed prayers from his Jewish roots with the rites of the Roman Catholic Church, a faith to which he converted during World War Two.


A cousin of the late archbishop of Paris, Arno Lustiger, read the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead said in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, at the start of the ceremony outside Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris.


Another family relation, Jonas Moses-Lustiger, read Psalm 113 in Hebrew and French, a psalm of special significance to both Jews and Catholics.


Memorial ceremony in Paris (Photo: AFP)


A large crowd had gathered in silence under overcast skies in front of a packed cathedral.


French President Nicolas Sarkozy broke his summer vacation in the United States to lead political figures.


Lustiger, who died from cancer on Sunday aged 80, was hidden in Catholic boarding schools during the 1940-1944 Nazi occupation of France and converted from Judaism during the war. His mother was arrested and died in the Auschwitz death camp.


Jewish religious and community leaders and dignitaries from other religions also attended the funeral, conducted by Lustiger's successor as Archbishop of Paris, Andre Vingt-Trois, and a message from Pope Benedict was read out.


Lustiger's coffin was borne into the cathedral by six priests and was laid to rest in the archbishop's crypt at Notre Dame in line with tradition.


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