Jean-Marie Lustiger, a Jewish-born convert to Catholicism who became a top Vatican figure, died.
Lustiger, a former archbishop of Paris, succumbed to cancer at the age of 80, diocese officials said Sunday.
The son of Polish Jewish refugees, Lustiger converted while hiding out in Catholic boarding schools during World War II. He was ordained in 1954 and went on to become cardinal, attaining one of the highest positions ever for a convert in the French Catholic Church. He was considered a mainstream Vatican thinker and frequently spoke out against anti-Semitism.
“France loses a great figure of our country’s spiritual, moral, intellectual and religious life,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a statement.
Lustiger is to be buried Friday in Notre Dame cathedral.