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On the same Church Square in Mosul, where seven years ago the terrorist organisation "Islamic State" (IS) proclaimed its caliphate, Pope Francis was received on his journey to Iraq. That historic visit was not only dedicated to the Christians living in the war-torn and fragile country, but also to all three monotheistic religions. The first visit of a Pope to the original homeland of Abraham is officially themed “Siete tutti fratelli” (“You are all brothers”) – in reference to his Encyclical of 2020 and the document on Human Fraternity of 2019 that the Pope and Grand Imam Ahmad al-Tayyeb, a representative of Sunni Islam, jointly presented in Abu Dhabi.
Following the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein and the Islamic State’s reign of terror, 1.5 million Christians have left Iraq. In Qaraqosh, once Iraq’s largest Christian city, Pope Francis pursued his “pastoral visit”, delivering a speech before the Angelus prayer to remember the violence of the IS and to give hope to Christians in the country. With the visit to the Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf, the risky mission amidst the pandemic and security conditions is probably also one of the Pope's most important journeys so far.
We would like to take the Pope’s visit to Iraq and its political implications for the Middle East and Europe, as well as the symbolic power of the interreligious dialogue as an opportunity to invite you to our online event with Secretary General of the KAS Michael Thielen, Bishop Dr. Franz-Josef Overbeck, Father Jens Petzold and Stefan von Kempis on March 15 at 18 h (CET).
18:00 Welcoming remarks
Bishop Dr. Franz-Josef Overbeck
Vice-President of the Commission of the
Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union
Father Jens Petzold
Monastery of the Virgin Mary
Deir Maryam al-Adhrain Sulaymaniyah
Stefan von Kempis
Head of the German-speaking department
18.45 Panel discussion moderated by
Advisor, Churches and Religious communities
19.25 Closing remarks
Dr. Nino Galetti
Director Foreign Office Italy and Holy See