Anniversary of 2021 trip

Mosul commemorates Pope Francis’s historic visit

MOSUL— The city of Mosul is commemorating the anniversary of Pope Francis’s landmark visit in 2021. In conversation with 964media, Christian clergy in Mosul have reflected on the visit’s profound significance, revealing items the Pope used during his stay that are now treasured in a museum-like section of Saint Paul the Apostle Church.

This dedicated corner displays the chair used by Pope Francis at Hosh Al-Bieaa (Church Square), a cross model crafted by Mosul sculptor Omar Qais, and photographs capturing his historic presence in the city.

Father Raed Adel, leader of Mosul’s Catholic Churches, shared with 964media the deep impact of the Pope’s visit, underscoring its role as a healing force for the city’s afflictions. “March 7 remains a momentous day for Mosul, drawing global attention to Um Al-Rabieen [famously known as the Mother of the Two Springs, due to its extended spring and fall seasons], with a focus on fostering societal peace and interfaith harmony, free from political or personal agendas,” he said.

Pope Francis’s visit to Mosul in 2021 was part of a historic journey to Iraq, aimed at promoting peace and reconciliation in a nation plagued by years of conflict and sectarian violence. His visit marked a significant moment of solidarity with Iraq’s Christian minority, a community that has faced persecution and hardship, especially during the rise of ISIS, which had a devastating impact on Mosul.

Father Adel further highlighted, “The Pope’s visit celebrated the longstanding brotherhood between Christians and Muslims in the region, a testament to centuries of coexistence.”

The visit brought significant attention to Hosh al-Bieaa, the site of the city’s oldest church, dating back 1,400 years, and the Al-Masfi Mosque, Mosul’s oldest mosque, constructed during the Umayyad era by Marwan Ibn Muhammed.

Monsignor Najib Mikhael, head of Saint Paul the Apostle Church, spoke of the joy and positive influence the visit instilled in the community. It inspired the creation of a museum corner within the church’s chapel, featuring a throne made by a Muslim, a gold-colored cross symbolizing human fraternity, and depictions of Mosul’s landmarks, including the famed Al-Hadba Minaret and sites significant to the Yezidi community.

“The Pope’s visit to Mosul, warmly greeted by both Muslims and Christians bearing the flags of Iraq and the Vatican, stood as a powerful symbol of the mutual affection and respect among the city’s diverse communities,” he remarked.