Pope Francis hails Dante as prophet of hope

Pope pays tribute to Italy's 'Supreme Poet' on Dantedì.

Pope Francis has paid tribute to Dante Alighieri, Italy's great mediaeval poet and philosopher, by releasing an Apostolic Letter entitled Candor lucis aeternae in honour of Dante's epic masterpiece The Divine Comedy.

In his letter the pontiff highlights the relevance, timelessness and depth of faith in La Divina Commedia which describes Dante's journey through the realms of hell, purgatory and heaven, reports Vatican News.

Hailing Dante as a "prophet of hope," Francis states that in his writings the poet urges humanity to free itself from the "dark forest" of sin to find "the right path" and thus reach "the fullness of life and time in history" and "eternal beatitude in God."

The pontiff identified two main pillars in The Divine Comedy as "an innate desire in the human heart" and "fulfilment in the happiness bestowed by the vision of the Love who is God.”

Francis wrote that Dante can "help us to advance with serenity and courage on the pilgrimage of life and faith that each of us is called to make, until our hearts find true peace and true joy, until we arrive at the ultimate goal of all humanity."

The pope also praised teachers who “passionately communicate Dante’s message and introduce others to the cultural, religious and moral riches contained in his works."

The release of the Apostolic Letter coincides with Dantedì - Italy's national day in honour of Dante - who died in Ravenna 700 years ago.