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Church of England apologises for anti-Jewish laws

by Kelly Valencia

The Church of England has apologised for passing anti-Jewish laws 800 years ago that resulted in the expulsion of Jews from England.

In a statement sent to the service to mark the 800th anniversary of the Synod of Oxford on Sunday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby, said the service was an opportunity to "repent, remember, and rebuild".

"Let us pray it inspires Christians today to reject contemporary forms of anti-Judaism and antisemitism and to appreciate and receive the gift of our Jewish neighbours," he said.

In 1222 the Synod of Oxford passed laws that forbid social interactions between Jews and Christians, forcing Jewish people to wear identifying badges, banning them from certain professions as well as banning them from building new synagogues.

Historians say the move was the start of an anti-Jewish movement in England that ended up in all Jews in England - approximately 3,000 - being expelled from the country and banned from returning for about 360 years. 

Although the Church of England was not created until 1530s, the Archdeacon of Oxford, Rt Rev , Jonathan Chaffey said it was now right for Christians to repent of their "shameful actions" and to "reframe positively" relations with the Jewish community. 

The service at Christ Church Oxford was attended by chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, representatives of the Archbishop of Canterbury and a Roman Catholic bishop.

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