Pope sends letter to Grand Ayatollah Sistani two years after their historic meeting in Najaf

Pope Francis met the Islamic Supreme Religious Authority, Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Al-Sistani, when he traveled to Iraq in 2021. Now, two years later, he addressed a letter to the Grand Ayatollah, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and friendship among different religions.

The Pope highlighted their mutual need for political action while also thanking Sayyed Al-Sistani for his commitment defending those suffering persecution. The Supreme Religious Authority was one of Iraq's key leaders in protecting his people in the fight against ISIS.

Addressing the Grand Ayatollah as his “dear brother”, Pope Francis noted that it is incumbent on religious leaders of all faiths to encourage those with responsibilities in civil society to promote political actions that protect the fundamental rights of each person and promote fraternity and mutual acceptance, as a concrete response to today’s challenges.

“Collaboration and friendship between believers of different religions are indispensable, in order to cultivate not only mutual esteem but above all that concord that contributes to the good of humanity, as the recent history of Iraq teaches us,” the Pope said.

He expressed his belief that faith-based communities must be “a privileged place of communion and a symbol of peaceful coexistence, in which we invoke the Creator of all, for a future of unity on earth.”

Pope Francis concluded expressing his hope that together, Christians and Muslims, may always be “witnesses of truth, love and hope, in a world scarred by numerous conflicts and therefore in need of compassion and healing.”