Reflecting the Mind of the Vatican since 1850
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The Long Political Transition of Iraq
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From March 5 to 8, 2021, Pope Francis will visit the troubled Land of Two Rivers, a common translation of the old name, Mesopotamia, modern day Iraq. Accepting the invitations of the Republic of Iraq and the local Catholic Church, Pope Francis is due to make an apostolic journey to the country, visiting Baghdad, the Plain of Ur, which is linked to the memory of Abraham, the city of Erbil, as well as Mosul, Qaraqosh, on the Plain of Nineveh, and Najaf.

This is the first time a pope has visited that land, where the Christian community has been a presence since apostolic times, and where there are still some small communities that speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

In recent years – particularly since 2014, when part of the country was occupied by the self-styled Islamic State caliphate – these communities have greatly reduced in number. It seems that today there are about 120,000 Christians in the Nineveh region, while before 2003, that is, before the U.S. invasion, more than a million Christians lived there.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2021