Pope Francis Meets Top Iraq Shiite Cleric Grand Ayatollah Sistani

A handout picture provided by Vatican News shows Pope Francis meeting top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in the Irqi shine city of Najaf,on March 6, 2021.
STRINGER / VATICAN NEWS / AFP

 

Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the top religious authority for most Shiite Muslims, hosted the head of the world’s Catholics, Pope Francis, on Saturday in the shrine city of Najaf.

Sistani, 90, almost never holds meetings but made an exception for 84-year-old Francis, who is making the first-ever papal trip to Iraq to encourage dwindling Christians and extend his hand to Shiite Muslims.