Currents News Staff
An excited crowd waving flags and palm branches waited expectantly for Pope Francis in Erbil on Sunday morning, March 7.
Nechivran Barzani, president of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region, greeted the Holy Father when he stepped out of the plane and accompanied him down the red carpet toward the airport’s VIP lounge.
Pope Francis graciously accepted bouquets of flowers and happily greeted civil and religious authorities.
The people communicated their joy and affection to the pope as he walked by them singing, “We are happy. We are joyful. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Pope Francis.”
In the airport’s VIP lounge, the pontiff had a private meeting with the president, prime minister and civil authorities of the Iraqi Kurdistan region.
Irbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, became a refuge for thousands of people driven out of Mosul and Qaraqosh by the Islamic State.