European Syriac Union praises Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq

The European Syriac Union (ESU) issued a statement welcoming the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Iraq on Friday, which the ESU believes will convey a message of hope, peace, brotherhood of peoples, and courage to Iraqis and all humanity.

The decision of Pope Francis to visit Iraq, and his intention to meet with various communities, components, leaders, and people of Iraq, will certainly give new strength and motivation to the country, especially to the beleaguered Christian communities across the country, read the statement.

The Pope’s visit to the country comes at a crucial time for all Iraqis, said the ESU. Political, economic, and social difficulties and disturbances and the widespread coronavirus pandemic continue to sweep across the country. The Islamic State is still active, and possibly resurging, in the country. Conflicts in neighboring countries continue and Turkish military operations in northern Iraq have displaced thousands of civilians.

In its statement, the ESU praised the role of Catholic and humanitarian organizations in assisting the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian people, displaced from their ancestral lands by the Islamic State, return to their homes.

The Pope’s visit is a valuable opportunity to highlight the needs of the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian and other Christian and minority peoples in Iraq, the right to self-determination, self-government, and to live in safety and peace. The European Syriac Union expressed its utmost gratitude to Pope Francis for demonstrating great courage in visiting Iraq and stated it is confident that his visit will provide immeasurable strength for all Iraqis.