Vatican City, Mar 14, 2021 / 03:46 am
Among the historic moments from the pope’s recent visit to Iraq was the establishment of a National Day of Tolerance and Coexistence, to be celebrated in Iraq every year on March 6.
Marking the inaugural celebration of the day, Pope Francis met in Najaf with the Grand Ayatollah Alì al Sistani, one of the most prominent Shiite Islam authorities, who is highly respected in Iraq and the Shiite world.
The fact that the pope was meeting with a prominent Shiite leader was significant.
Since the Holy See announced in 2016 that it was restoring relations with al Azhar mosque and university in Egypt – considered to be one of the most critical institutions of Sunni thought – dialogue with Islam has seemed to favor the Sunnis. Pope Francis met with the Grand Imam of al Azhar Ahmed al-Tayyib five times. In 2019, the Sunni leader joined Pope Francis is signing the Declaration on Human Fraternity, which was also an inspiration for the encyclical Fratelli Tutti.