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Pope To Visit Iraq In March

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Pope To Visit Iraq In March

VATICAN CITY, Vatican (AP) — Pope Francis will make a pilgrimage to Iraq in March, pandemic conditions permitting, the Vatican said Monday, in announcing what would be the pontiff’s first trip aboard in more than a year.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni on Monday said Francis will make the March 5-8 visit, with stops in Baghdad, and the “plains of Ur, linked to the memory of Abraham,” the Biblical patriarch who is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims, as well as to the cities of Irbil, Mosul and Qaraqosh.

According to Reuters.

The trip, at the invitation of the Iraqi government and the local Catholic Church, is planned for March 5-8, Bruni said.

“The programme of the journey will be made known in due course, and will take into consideration the evolution of the worldwide health emergency,” Bruni said in statement.

It will be the pope’s first overseas trip since November 2019. Trips planned for this year were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Vatican source said one of the aims of the trip was to comfort Christians who, amid wars and conflicts, have been forced to flee from Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries.

Iraqi President Barham Salih said in a post on Twitter that the trip “will be a message of peace to Iraqis of all religions & serve to affirm our common values of justice & dignity.”

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