11 His death

Giorgio La Pira died on 5 November 1977, “in the Sabbath without eventide” of which he himself had spoken. The next day the body was exposed in San Marco, where the Florentines flocked to take leave of the “holy mayor” and political and cultural personalities arrived from all over the world: men of every nation and creed. The funeral took place on 7 November. In the Duomo Cardinal Benelli declared: “Nothing about Giorgio La Pira can be understood except in the context of faith” .

The following day the Italian press, which had often been very critical of La Pira, was unanimous in recognizing the value of his work: “A prophet to be reappraised” (Corriere della Sera), “A prophet in politics” (La Stampa), “The professor who set out to be the mediator of peace” (La Repubblica), “The prophet of planetary peace” (Il Tempo). His friends gave their considered opinions on his work. “If one could encapsulate the importance of his lifework,” wrote Carlo Bo, “one would have to say that La Pira certainly passed like a comet through the sky of a political world unworthy of him, but that he was on the other hand the symbol of another and loftier concept: that even a saint can work in politics as long as his political vocation is merely the reflection and echo of his earlier and truer religious choice.” And Paul VI, in his Wednesday public audience, expressed his sorrow at the death of the “generous and faithful servant of the Lord, Giorgio La Pira” .

He was buried in the Florentine cemetery of Rifredi, beside Don Facibeni. On the tomb is a lamp given by Florentine, Israeli and Palestinian children, bearing the words “Peace, Shalom, Salaam”. In 2007, in the 30th anniversary of his death, his tomb was moved to the Church of San Marco.


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