At the start of his second day in Iraq, Pope Francis on Saturday morning flew to Najaf for a private meeting with the Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Husayni Sistani at his residence.
Before meeting with the Grand Ayatollah, the Pope was met by his son Mohammed Rida.
The office of Grand Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf, Iraq today (Saturday) issued a statement regarding the meeting of the Supreme Religious Authority of the Shia Muslims of the world with Pope Francis, the world’s Catholic leader.
The statement said that the great challenges facing humanity in this era and the role of faith in God Almighty and adherence to high moral values to overcome them were discussed and exchanged views.
The text of the statement reads:
The Grand Ayatollah Sistani met this morning (Saturday) with Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and the head of the Vatican Government.
In this meeting, the great challenges that humanity faces in this period and the role of faith in God Almighty and adherence to high moral values to overcome them were discussed.
Ayatollah Sistani talked about injustice, oppression, poverty, religious and intellectual persecution, the suppression of fundamental freedoms and the lack of social justice that different countries suffer from, especially wars and acts of violence, the economic siege, the displacement and other issues that the nations of our region, especially the Palestinian people, are suffering from in the occupied territories.
His Holiness went on to point out the role that great religious and spiritual leaders must play in preventing catastrophes, and noted that they are expected to persuade the relevant parties, especially the great powers, to prefer reason and wisdom and to abandon the language of war, and to refrain from spreading self-interest to the detriment of the rights of nations to live in dignity and freedom, and he also stressed the importance of redoubled efforts to strengthen the values of solidarity, peaceful coexistence and human solidarity in all societies based on respect for the rights and mutual revere between followers of different religions and intellectual tendencies.
the statement translated by shafaqna.