Pope Francis announced visit to Iraq in March
The Vatican announced that Pope Francis plans to go to Iraq in March 2021. This visit would mark the first time that a Pope has ever visited the Middle Eastern country.
Pope Francis had hoped to visit Iraq in 2020 after meeting with Iraqi President Barham Salih this past January but had to postpone these plans because of the pandemic. This would be the Pope’s first international trip since his Holiness visited Thailand and Japan in November of 2019.
According to the Vatican press office, Pope Francis will visit “Baghdad, linked to the memory of Abraham, the city of Erbil, as well as Mosul and Qaraqosh in the plain of Nineveh.”
There is an ongoing reconstruction in the Nineveh Plains, the latest of which outlines some recent struggles due to COVID-19. Pope Francis hopes to address these humanitarian issues during his visit and revitalise a war-torn Christianity in the region.
Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, welcomes the trip and believes the Pope will bring “his support and also a word of hope.”