- Pope Francis celebrated his first public mass of eastern rite in Iraq today in Baghdad before a scanty assembly due to the covid-19 pandemic, with about 180 faithful and where the Iraqi President was.
With this unprecedented papal mass in Iraq, celebrated at St. Joseph’s Church in the center of Baghdad, the 84-year-old head of the Catholic church celebrated his first Eastern ritual mass that was spoken in Arabic, Aramaic, Kurdish and Turkmen as well as Italian.
The ceremony in this church, in the center of the capital, was attended by the surprised Kurdish Iraqi president, Barham Salih, with whom Francisco met on arrival in the Arab country.
On the second day of his historic visit to Iraq, Francis celebrated his first mass for the Christian faithful, who have been punished in recent years for the persecution of the terrorist group of the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
The Pope wanted to use the Syrian-Eastern rite to honor the Eastern Christian churches, which enrich the liturgies. The pope spoke in Italian and the faithful responded in Arabic.
In his homily, based on the reading of the beatitudes, the Pope asked: “how blessed is it possible for the world, it is the rich, the powerful, the famous” who counts.
But, for God, “it is not great what has more, but who is not poor in spirit, it is not who dominates others, but who is meek with everyone, it is not what is acclaimed by crowds, but who he is merciful to his brothers “.
With the celebration of this Mass, Francis concluded the second day of his trip to Iraq, on a historic day when he met with the Shiite spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, and traveled to Ur, where tradition says that Patriarch Abraham was born , venerated by the three great monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
This Sunday, the Pope visits three cities in less than 10 hours. He will travel to the destroyed Mosul, where the Islamic State proclaimed its “caliphate”, in 2014, to Qaraqosh, the largest Christian city in Iraq, and to Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan and where he will celebrate the act with the largest number of people, a mass for 10,000 faithful.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.