Lebanese patriarch heads to Iraq

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Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai on Monday headed to Iraq for an official visit.

“It was necessary for us to travel to Baghdad in order to express solidarity with the Iraqi people,” the National News Agency quoted Rai as saying at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport.

In a reference to the situation in Iraq, the patriarch said that “the Church is always against violence and against war.”

He also said that one of the goals of his trip is “to encourage the Christians [in Iraq] and to have them preserve their existence.”

Rai added that “no one advised me not to go to Iraq…We are visiting a country that is in need for peace and conciliation.”

The NNA also reported that Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Yonan also travelled with Rai to Baghdad.

-NOW Lebanon

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