Updated 12:13 PM ET, Sat March 6, 2021
Pope Francis landed in Iraq on Friday for a historic tour of the war-ravaged nation, where he is meeting with members of the country’s dwindling Christian community and aiming to draw attention to their plight.
It’s the first-ever papal visit to Iraq, and it is Pope Francis’ first trip outside of Italy since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. He and his entourage have all been vaccinated.
“This is a symbolic trip. It’s a duty,” the Pope told journalists traveling with him on the papal plane. “It has been a martyred land for too long.”