Skip to content
search
The Scene Pope Francis Makes A Historic Visit To Iraq, The Cradle Of The Abrahamic Religions

Pope Francis Makes A Historic Visit To Iraq, The Cradle Of The Abrahamic Religions

ROME, ITALY - MARCH 05:  Pope Francis waves as he departs for his trip to Iraq from Leonardo Da Vinci airport on March 05, 2021 in Rome, Italy. Pope Francis will start the historic first ever papal visit to Iraq. In his first foreign trip since the start of the pandemic Pope Francis will visit Baghdad, Najaf, Erbil and the cities of Qaraqosh and Mosul, which were heavily destroyed by ISIS. Although the trip is seen as an act of solidarity, the Vatican has been forced to defend the decision to go ahead with
ROME, ITALY - MARCH 05: Pope Francis waves as he departs for his trip to Iraq from Leonardo Da Vinci airport on March 05, 2021 in Rome, Italy. Pope Francis will start the historic first ever papal visit to Iraq. In his first foreign trip since the start of the pandemic Pope Francis will visit Baghdad, Najaf, Erbil and the cities of Qaraqosh and Mosul, which were heavily destroyed by ISIS. Although the trip is seen as an act of solidarity, the Vatican has been forced to defend the decision to go ahead with the papal visit amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as Iraq is currently seeing a spike in infection rates as it faces a deadly second wave of the virus. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
By Franz Sorilla IV
By Franz Sorilla IV
March 05, 2021
Despite threats of the COVID-19 pandemic and security risks, Pope Francis is bound today for Iraq, making him the first Vicar of Christ to have a papal visit to the country

Pope Francis' first apostolic visit for 2021 is finally happening and will be historical by significant proportions. As of writing, Pope Francis has already departed the Leonardo Da Vinci airport bound for Iraq and will be staying there until 8 March 2021. If the papal visit becomes successful, Pope Francis will be the first pope to visit the birthplace of Abraham, the first pope to celebrate Mass in the Chaldean rite, and his papal visit will be the first since the spread of a global pandemic that is still continues to wreck havoc in many parts of the world.

Read also: The Catholic Church And Social Media During The Lenten Season And COVID-19 Pandemic

 

Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI have received the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the Vatican last January.

In a recent video message to the Iraqi people, Pope Francis clarified that he is coming to their country as a "penitent pilgrim", a "pilgrim of peace", and a "pilgrim of hope". Primarily, his agenda is to reassure the dwindling Christian community in the war-torn country and foster inter-religious dialogue among Muslims and Christians, as well as between Shia and Sunni Muslims.

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - AUGUST 10:  Pope Francis delivers his Angelus blessing from the window of the former Papal apartments overlooking St. Peter's Square on August 10, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican.Pope Francis renewed his call for prayer and assistance for those suffering in Iraq. He also prayed for an end to the fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants in Gaza, as well as for the victims of the Ebola virus. Pope Francis will visit South Korea from August 14 to August 18.  (Photo by Franco Or
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - AUGUST 10: Pope Francis delivers his Angelus blessing from the window of the former Papal apartments overlooking St. Peter's Square on August 10, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican.Pope Francis renewed his call for prayer and assistance for those suffering in Iraq. He also prayed for an end to the fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants in Gaza, as well as for the victims of the Ebola virus. Pope Francis will visit South Korea from August 14 to August 18. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
 

Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in Baghdad on Friday afternoon. He will be welcomed by the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and Iraqi President Barham Salih. A meeting with the bishops and other clergy follows this at a Syriac Catholic Church, the Our Lady of Salvation. This church was reported as the location where 52 Christians and police were killed in an attack by jihadists, a precursor group to IS in 2010.

On Saturday, the pope will visit the Shia Muslim holy city of Najaf, where he will meet Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. He is the revered spiritual leader in the Shia Muslim community all over the world.

At the ancient site of Ur, the traditionally believed birthplace of the Prophet Abraham, Pope Francis will attend an inter-religious meeting.

On Sunday, he will travel to the northern city of Mosul and say a prayer of suffrage in Church Square for the victims of the war with IS. He will be visiting Qaraqosh as well, a place of refuge for returning Christians since the defeat of IS in 2017. He will be restoring the town's church and participate in the home rebuilding ceremonies.

On that same afternoon, he will celebrate Mass at a stadium in Irbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region. The Iraqi government has lifted its strict lockdowns to accommodate expected thousands of attendees of the historical Eucharistic celebration.

QARAQOSH, IRAQ - 2021/02/25: A view of a street decorated with Iraqi, Vatican flags and pictures of Pope Francis days before his historic visit to Iraq.The town of Qaraqosh, 30 kilometres southeast of the city of Mosul, is preparing to reception Pope Francis by renovating the church that the Pope will visit and by decorating the streets with the Vatican flags and pictures of the Pope on his first and historical visit to Iraq from March 5-8, his historical visit includes a trip to several cities, including
QARAQOSH, IRAQ - 2021/02/25: A view of a street decorated with Iraqi, Vatican flags and pictures of Pope Francis days before his historic visit to Iraq.The town of Qaraqosh, 30 kilometres southeast of the city of Mosul, is preparing to reception Pope Francis by renovating the church that the Pope will visit and by decorating the streets with the Vatican flags and pictures of the Pope on his first and historical visit to Iraq from March 5-8, his historical visit includes a trip to several cities, including the capital Baghdad, the city of Mosul in north and a meeting with the Shiite religious authority Ayatollah Ali Sistani. (Photo by Ismael Adnan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
 

The papal visit is indeed timely and much needed by the Iraqi people, Muslims and Christians alike. In this commentary video from the America-The Jesuit Review, Fr. Christopher Clohessy of the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies said that in this inter-religious dialogue, all must remember that there is no conversion in the agenda but a dialogue of religious differences for peace and community-building.

Read more: Before The Papacy: Francis, Benedict XVI, John Paul II

  • Images Getty Images

Tags

The Scene Religion and Spirituality

clear
keyboard_arrow_up

In order to provide you with the best possible experience, this website uses cookies. For more information, please refer to our Privacy Policy.

close