Pope Francis is making his first visit to a synagogue as pope, greeting Rome's Jewish community in the city's main synagogue in a show of interfaith friendship at a time of religiously-inspired violence around the globe.

Francis began his visit Sunday by laying a wreath at a plaque outside the synagogue marking where Roman Jews were rounded up by the Nazis in 1943 and at another marking the slaying of a 2-year-old boy in an attack by Palestinians on the synagogue in 1982.

He met with members of the boy's family and survivors of the attack before entering the synagogue.

The visit comes amid a spate of Islamic extremist attacks, and both Francis and his Jewish hosts are expected to denounce all violence committed in the name of God.