Pope Francis Will Meet With Top Shiite Cleric In Upcoming Iraq Visit

Pope Francis Will Meet With Top Shiite Cleric In Upcoming Iraq Visit
@franciscus | IsaKazimi (talk)/Wikipedia

Pope Francis is set to meet Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani during his upcoming visit to Iraq, a senior cleric told AFP on Thursday.

The meeting between the two religious figures will be private and take place at Sistani’s residence in Najaf, “without formalities,” Cardinal Louis Sako, patriarch of Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic Church, told AFP.

Sako expressed hope that the visit would involve the signing of the document on “human fraternity for world peace,” adding that the Pope was hoping for Sistani’s endorsement of the document, considering his status as an influential Shiite cleric.

The said document is an inter-religious text that condemns extremism, which the Pope had signed with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, in 2019.

“By signing it, Ayatollah Sistani would represent the second major part of Islam signing on to this historic document,” Sako said.

Pope Francis‘s historic visit to Iraq, set to last from March 5-8, will be an Apostolic Journey covering various sites in 4 Iraqi provinces over the course of 4 days.

Back in December, Director of the Holy See Press Office Matteo Bruni said that the Pope had accepted the invitation by Iraq and its local Catholic Church.

Pope Francis has also promised during his Christmas Day message that he would visit Lebanon and South Sudan as soon as possible.

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