Pope Francis, surrounded by the remains of destroyed churches, attends a prayer in Mosul, Iraq, on Sunday, March 7. Francis called for "harmonious coexistence" of people from different backgrounds and cultures. "Here in Mosul, the tragic consequences of war and hostility are all too evident," he said.
Andrew Medichini/AP

In pictures: Pope Francis visits Iraq

Updated 1724 GMT (0124 HKT) March 8, 2021

Pope Francis, surrounded by the remains of destroyed churches, attends a prayer in Mosul, Iraq, on Sunday, March 7. Francis called for "harmonious coexistence" of people from different backgrounds and cultures. "Here in Mosul, the tragic consequences of war and hostility are all too evident," he said.
Andrew Medichini/AP

Pope Francis landed in Iraq on Friday for a historic tour of the war-ravaged nation, where he met with members of the country's dwindling Christian community and aimed to draw attention to their plight.

It was the first-ever papal visit to Iraq, and it was Pope Francis' first trip outside 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."