Pope Francis Holds Historic Meeting With Powerful Shia Cleric in Iraq

Pope Francis held an historic meeting with one of Shia Islam’s most powerful figures and visited the birthplace of the biblical prophet Abraham in Iraq on Saturday during his first international trip since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic last year.

The 84-year-old leader of the Catholic Church held a 45-minute meeting with the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the reclusive and legendary Shiite cleric, at his modest home in the holy city of Najaf in central Iraq.

“The Holy Father stressed the importance of collaboration and friendship between religious communities,” according to a Vatican statement released after the historic meeting with the 90-year-old Muslim cleric, a powerful spiritual leader who urged his millions of followers in the Shiite majority country to take up arms against ISIS fighters in 2014. (Read more from “Pope Francis Holds Historic Meeting With Powerful Shia Cleric in Iraq” HERE)

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