Pope Benedict XVI urged Shimon Peres to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians in his new capacity as the President of the Jewish State.
Peres will be sworn in as president at a special ceremony at the Knesset on Sunday evening.
"On the eve of your appointment as the President of the State of Israel I would like to express my deepest wishes and congratulate you for you appointment to the highest ranking position in your country," the Pope wrote in a letter sent to Peres.
"Many people around the world, as well as Israel's citizens expect you to push the government and other relevant bodies to do everything to advance peace," the Pope added.
"Mr. President," the Pope added, "Your reputation and achievements are exceptional, clear and absolute in the field of peace and the pursuit of justice. I am sure you will continue to influence and incite courage in other leaders to deal with the challenges of the future in the clear hope to advance the good a peace."
"This will be the best way to defeat the deadly terror and violence that are condemned by the whole world. The terrorists are betraying humanity," he said.
Israel's Ambassador to Italy Oded Ben-Horin said the Pope's letter was personal, warm and unusual.
Peres was congratulated by a string of world leaders that included the presidents of Egypt, Jordan, Russia and China.
Aviram Zino contributed to this report