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    » 03/21/2013, 00.00

    IRAQ - VATICAN

    May the pope come to Iraq in the footsteps of Saint Francis, says Patriarch Sako



    Mar Louis Raphael I Sako, patriarch of the Chaldean Church, extends an invitation to the pontiff when the two met this morning in the Vatican. The Holy Father is moved by the suffering of Iraqi Christians. Dialogue with Muslims is a priority.

    Roma (AsiaNews) - As Saint San Francis travelled to the East where he met Sultan Malik al-Kamil, so we hope Pope Francis "may come to Iraq to confirm us our faith and give our small community in the land of Abraham courage and hope," said His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphael I Sako during an audience with the pontiff this morning in the Vatican. "Yes," answered the pope, "with joy." The patriarch himself told AsiaNews about his meeting with the Holy Father before leaving this afternoon for Baghdad. The head of the Chaldean Church was in Rome for the pope's inaugural Mass in St Peter's Square last Tuesday.

    The prelate said that he was "struck by the pope's simplicity and spontaneity". He was very moved when the two talked about the tragic fate of Iraqi Christians.

    "I stood before a father and a first-class pastor," the patriarch said. "When I told him that our land had to endure 950 martyrs and 57 churches attacked, he said: 'I feel pain for you.'"

    Francis also asked him about his diocese, about vocations in his country, tormented by ten years of violence and conflict between Shias and Sunnis.

    "He asked me to pray for him," the prelate explained. "And I invited him to visit us in Iraq. The pontiff said he looks forward to visiting our country, which is also where Abraham began his journey. His visit would inspire us with courage and hope."

    His Beatitude Mar Luis Raphael I took advantage of the meeting to ask the pope to speak to Muslims, meeting them the way Saint Francis did, stressing the importance of interfaith dialogue because "When the head of the Church speaks to the Muslim world, we Christians are shown appreciation and respect."

    "We ended by praying together," the patriarch said, "reciting Our Father and Hail Mary for Iraq." After that, "The pope gave his blessing to all Iraqis present, priests, men and women religious as well as lay people."  (D.S.)

     

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    See also

    04/11/2013 IRAQ
    Chaldean Patriarch Sako tells Church: Be united in Christ to meet the mission's challenges
    His Beatitude reminds the clergy that their task is to be "priests", that they belong to the "One" Church, which is not an NGO because "its core is Christ." He reiterates that their duty is to be "servants" and "pastors" of the community, and calls for transparency and rigour in financial matters.

    02/12/2013 IRAQ - VATICAN
    Mar Sako: the Pope in Iraq is a "necessity" for Christians hoping in a Syria-like "miracle"
    The Chaldean Patriarch testifies to the "need" for solidarity and closeness to Iraq's Christian community. Muslims appreciate the Pope Francis' "symbolic gestures ", which enhance his "prophetic character". For Mar Sako, the Christian presence in the Middle East is "essential" and its "identity" must be preserved. The ordination of a priest and six new deacons are source of hope in this time of Advent.

    28/04/2016 21:51:00 IRAQ
    Patriarch Sako: Amoris Laetitia, a source of mercy and learning for Christians and Muslims

    The Apostolic Exhortation contains essential elements for Christian families. It has also elicited “positive thoughts” among Muslims. For the Chaldean Patriarch, Islam too is waiting for something different on the family and spousal relations. Despite the war, few families have broken down, which is not the case for those who emigrated. Married priests could be a model for the whole Church.



    17/10/2014 VATICAN - IRAQ
    Baghdad patriarch: pope to write a letter of hope for Iraqi Christians
    This morning, the pope received Mar Sako in audience. At the request of the patriarch, Francis said he would write a special message addressed to the Iraqi Christian community. He also expressed a wish to carry out an apostolic visit to Iraq, to ​​"eliminate the distance" and "show support of the whole Church." From the Pope prayers for the country and its people.

    11/01/2011 IRAQ - VATICAN
    Iraqi bishop: Pope’s words encourage commitment to remain in our land
    For Msgr. Sako Benedict XVI's speech is a source of "encouragement". Christians are"authentic" citizens and should enjoy "all rights" and the most important is religious freedom. "Religious fanaticism" is the greatest threat to the harmonious coexistence between different faiths, peace is based on freedom.



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