Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai on Monday headed to Iraq for an official visit.
â€œIt was necessary for us to travel to Baghdad in order to express solidarity with the Iraqi people,â€ the National News Agency quoted Rai as saying at Beirutâ€™s Rafik Hariri International Airport.
In a reference to the situation in Iraq, the patriarch said that â€œthe Church is always against violence and against war.â€
He also said that one of the goals of his trip is â€œto encourage the Christians [in Iraq] and to have them preserve their existence.â€
Rai added that â€œno one advised me not to go to Iraqâ€¦We are visiting a country that is in need for peace and conciliation.â€
The NNA also reported that Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Yonan also travelled with Rai to Baghdad.
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