Pope plans historic visit to Iraq

Pope Francis will travel to Iraq in March, the Vatican said Monday, the first head of the church and will include a trip to Mosul. The 83-year-old has long been interested in traveling to the Middle East, where conflict has led to a sharp decline in the number of Christians two years ago. Within the next five to eight months, Francis “will travel to Baghdad, the Ura valley … cities of Erbil, as well as Mosul and Qaraqosh and the Nineveh valley,” spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement. The Pope’s visit to the ancient city of Mosul in northern Iraq will be significant, as is the case with the former Daesh stronghold. Many countries and many Iraqis were destroyed by the bloody civil war that followed the US-led invasion of 2003 and Daesh destroyed a third of the country in 2014. The capitals of Assyria, Armenia, Chaldeans, and Protestants, and others have acted quickly. There were no reliable numbers and numbers of Christian refugees in Iraq during the ensuing bloodshed. According to William Warda, founder of the Hammurabi Humanitarian Program, the number of Christians living in Iraq reached 400,000, down from 1.5 million in 2003. Pope’s message of peace will be the first pope abroad since the outbreak of the coronavirus Italia, Vatican said. and that this program “will take into account the changing nature of the global health emergency”. Francis said last year that Iraq was on his agenda for 2020, but was forced to cancel all foreign trips in May as the coronavirus crossed the globe. At the time, he said he hoped Iraq could “face the future through peace and in the short term by doing the best for all segments of society, including religious ones, and not return to the contentious region of conflict. ” President Barham Saleh has invited the Pope to travel to Iraq in July 2019, hoping he will help the country “heal” after many controversies. “It’s a message of peace to Iraq,” he said

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