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Pope to Iraq: I come as pilgrim of peace

Ahead of the first-ever visit to Iraq, Pope Francis issued a video message to the people of the devastated country to express joy, saying he is visiting Iraq as a pilgrim of peace.

“Dear brothers and sisters in Iraq, peace be upon you! In a few days, I will finally be among you. I long to meet you, to see your faces and to visit your land, the ancient and extraordinary cradle of civilization,” the pontiff said.

“I come as a pilgrim, as a penitent pilgrim to implore forgiveness and reconciliation from the Lord after years of war and terrorism, to ask God for the consolation of hearts and the healing of wounds,” he added.

Pope Francis is expected to Arrive in Baghdad on Friday for a three-day visit. He will also travel to Erbil where he will hold a mass with the attendance of 10,000 people.

During his trip, he will visit Ur, the place which is believed to be the first station of Prophet Abraham’s journey of faith.

“Yes, I come as a pilgrim of peace in search of fraternity, animated by the desire to pray together and to walk together, also with brothers and sisters of other religious traditions, under the sign of our Father Abraham, who unites Muslims, Jews, and Christians in one family.”