The religious leaders met in the afternoon hours and behind closed doors. The exchange lasted almost an hour, so it was not a formal exchange, but it is expected to have addressed issues of importance.
To finish his first day of visit, the Holy Pontiff will visit the city of Ur and offer a mass in St. Jose Cathedral in Baghdad. High state officials will attend the mass, among them Iraq's President Barham Salih.
Besides, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has proclaimed March 6 as "Tolerance and coexistence Day" to commemorate the meeting between the two religious authorities.
Surreal & moving seeing @Pontifex in Karradah, Baghdad where I am always in awe of the beautiful churches. So much pain inflicted & sadly swept under the rug. I hope this visit inspires the start to national reconciliation in Iraq.
It is Pope Francis' first international trip since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the first one made by a Pontiff to Iraq, which represents a rapprochement of the Catholic Church to the Shiite branch of Islam.
Previously, on Feb. 4, 2019, Francis I had a similar gesture with the Sunni branch of Islam after signing the "Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Common Coexistence" with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyib during the Interreligious Meeting at the Founder's Memorial in Abu Dhabi.