Pope to meet top Shiite cleric Sistani in March

TEHRAN, Jan. 28 (MNA) – Pope Francis is to meet top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani during the first-ever papal visit to Iraq in March.

Pop's visiting program was announced by a senior Catholic cleric as he told AFP on Thursday.

Louis Sako, the patriarch of Iraq's Chaldean Catholic Church, said it would be a "private visit" between the two religious figures at Sistani's residence in the shrine city of Najaf, "without formalities."

Sako said he hoped the two figures would sign the document on "human fraternity for world peace," an inter-religious text condemning extremism.

Pope Francis signed the document with the leading Sunni cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar, in February 2019.

Sako said the pope was hoping for an endorsement from an influential Shiite cleric like Sistani.

"He would represent the second major part of Islam signing on to this historic document," the cardinal told AFP.

Pope Francis is set to be in Iraq from March 5 to 8 with an ambitious program that will take around the country.

The Pope will hold an inter-religious prayer service there, to be attended by representatives of Iraq's various faiths including Shiite and Sunni Muslim, Sako said.


News Code 169173


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