Pope’s visit brings hope to Iraqi Christians after long martyrdom

World

Pope’s visit brings hope to Iraqi Christians after long martyrdom

The community, decimated by Islamist violence, is excitedly preparing for the unique occasion

Charlotte Bruneau

Iraqi Christians are busy scrubbing churches, practising hymns and preparing for mass ahead of the first ever papal visit to the country, a four-day trip next month that is going ahead despite the coronavirus pandemic and security risks.

The minority community of several hundred thousand was decimated first by al Qaeda’s rise in the early 2000s, and later by Islamic State, the extremist group that brutally persecuted them and other minority faiths and sects from 2014 to 2017.

For many of those who remained, or have returned to Iraq where free worship is again possible, Pope Francis’s visit from March 5 to 8 is welcome recognition of how they have suffered for their beliefs...

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