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Iraqi Shiite leader Sistani tells Pope Francis that Christians must be protected | Times of Israel |

When the time came, the 84-year-old pontiff's convoy, led by a bullet-proof vehicle, pulled up along Najaf's narrow and column-lined Rasool Street, which culminates at the golden-domed Imam Ali Shrine, one of the most revered sites in the world for Shiites.

He then walked the few meters (yards) to al-Sistani's modest home, which the cleric has rented for decades. A group of Iraqis wearing traditional clothes welcomed him outside.

The official said al-Sistani, who normally remains seated for visitors, stood to greet Francis at the door of his room, a rare honor. Al-Sistani and Francis sat close to one another, without masks, with their hands on their laps. A small table was between them with a box of tissues on it.

The official said there was some concern about the fact that the pope had met with so many people the day before. Francis has received the coronavirus vaccine but al-Sistani has not.

The visit was being carried live on Iraqi television, and residents cheered the meeting of two respected faith leaders.

by Oui on Sat Mar 6th, 2021 at 03:26:34 PM EST

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