His Holiness Pope Francis left Baghdad today at the end of a historic 4-day visit to Iraq.
Pope Francis began his visit last Friday when he landed at Baghdad International Airport at around 2 PM local time. He was welcomed to Iraq by Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.
Following the welcome ceremony at the airport, the Pope was escorted in motorcade to the Presidential Palace in Baghdad where he was received by the President of the Republic, Barham Salih, in an official ceremony.
After his meeting with the President, the Pope visited the Syriac Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad, where he met bishops, priests, monks, nuns and members of the congregation.
On Saturday 6/3/2021, the Pope met His Eminence Grand Ayatollah Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Sistani in Najaf. Together, they discussed the great challenges facing humanity and the role of religious leaders in promoting the values of freedom, dignity, harmony, peaceful coexistence and human solidarity.
Following the meeting, the Pope travelled to Al-Nasiriyah and held interfaith prayers in the ancient city of Ur, before returning to Baghdad where he celebrated holy mass at St. Joseph Church.
Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi named the 6th of March of each year a National Day for Tolerance and Coexistence to commemorate the meeting between His Eminence Grand Ayatollah Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Sistani and His Holiness the Pope, and to mark the interfaith meeting in ancient Ur.
On Sunday morning, the Pope travelled to Erbil in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and from there by helicopter to Mosul where recited a prayer of sufferage for the victims of war at Hosh al-Bieaa (Church Square).
The Pope then travelled to Qaraqosh and visited the Qaraqosh community at the Church of the Immaculate Conception.
In the afternoon, His Holiness the Pope returned to Erbil where celebrated holy mass at the Franso Hariri stadium. Following the celebration, he departed for Baghdad.
The Pope departed Baghdad for Rome on Monday morning, concluding his historic visit to Iraq.