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Rome Reports

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Shiite - Vatican Relationship—Pope Francis strives to strengthen this bond

In a private audience, Pope Francis met with Ayatollah Alireza Arafi, president of the Islamic seminaries of Iran. He is based in Qom, a city that is considered the center of Shiite Islam in the country and he is the head some of the most influential institutions in the region.

The ayatollah is one of the highest titles in the Shiite religious hierarchy and one of the most respected in the academic world. 

Researcher & Religious Journalist
Ayatollah Arafi has managed some important international institutions and he's interested in dialogue between religions. And this trip was of great importance in terms of creating a serious and new era of relations between Qom and the Vatican.

The meeting highlighted the importance of interfaith dialogue and condemned persecution and crime around the world.

Researcher & Religious Journalist
That is why promoting the relationship between Qom and the Vatican is of great importance. Because we believe that many challenges of present world relating to morality, youth and family are common issues for which the religious community in the world can provide solutions. Such meetings can help solve these problems.

Although this is not the first time Pope Francis has met with a major leader of Shiite Islam, it is the first official meeting between the Qom seminary and the Vatican.