Pope Francis returns to Rome after historic trip to Iraq
The farewell ceremony for Pope Francis in Iraq was subdued but heartfelt. The country's president was waiting for him at the airport. They met for some minutes to comment on the events of the three-day papal visit.
Outside, the Iraqi president cordially said goodbye to the papal entourage, among them Cardinals Leonardo Sandri, Fernando Filoni and Miguel Ángel Ayuso. The Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Paul Richard Gallagher, was also present.
The farewell was cordial and relaxed. After a final affectionate goodbye between the pope and the president, the pope took his leave. He walked up the steps with difficulty, with a limp evident from day one of the trip.
The plane took off on schedule at around 9:40 a.m., concluding the first trip of any pope to Iraqi lands.