Copy of 2021-03-07T143236Z_2052323392_RC2E6M9OG0GT_RTRMADP_3_POPE-IRAQ-1615128444060
Pope Francis arrives to lead a mass at the Franso Hariri Stadium in Erbil, Iraq March 7, 2021. Image Credit: REUTERS

Erbil, Iraq: Pope Francis celebrated mass on Sunday with several thousand worshippers spread across a stadium in the Kurdistan regional capital of Arbil, the largest liturgy of his trip to pandemic-hit Iraq.

With vaccinations still extremely limited in Iraq and fears the mass could become a super-spreader event, authorities restricted attendance at the Franso Hariri stadium, which usually holds 20,000 people.

Earlier on Sunday, Pope Francis met Christians in an ancient church torched by the Daesh when it swept into the northern Iraqi town of Qaraqosh in 2014.

He also later prayed on Sunday for “victims of war” outside a centuries-old church in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, heavily damaged by Daesh.