A piece of Iraq will accompany the Pope to the Vatican

Pope Francis will carry with him a piece from Iraq to the Vatican, which is a sculpture that forms a miniature copy of the painting "The Way of the Cross" that one of the most famous Iraqi sculptors carved on the wall of a Baghdad church, and was specially made in honor of the Supreme Pontiff on his historical visit to Iraq.

On Friday evening, Iraqi President Barham Salih, the owner of the official invitation for this extraordinary visit, presented the bronze painting as a gift to the exceptional guest.

Yasser Hekmat, son of the Iraqi sculptor Muhammad Ghani Hekmat, who died in 2011, supervised the preparation of the sculpture, in the strictest confidence.

"It represents a symbol for Iraq, because an Arab Muslim sculptor made the sculpture ... and it represents the whole of Iraq, in which there is no distinction between the sects," Hekmat told AFP.

Behind this miniature masterpiece, which is four times less than the original sculpture, lies the almost complete history of modern Iraq that the Pope will tour from north to south until Monday morning.

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