Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 15 October |
Saint of the Day: St. Teresa of Avila
Aleteia logo
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Virgin Mary statue marred by ISIS to be blessed by Pope Francis


Tanakorn Moolsarn | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 03/07/21

The blessing will take place at a stadium Mass celebrated by the pope during his visit to Iraq.

During his historic trip to Iraq, Pope Francis will bless a statue of the Blessed Mother that was desecrated by ISIS. The pope will conduct the blessing at a public Mass at a stadium in Erbil today. Expert artisans have been working to repair the statue before the papal visit.

According to a report from CNA, the statue was marred during the ISIS occupation of the Nineveh Plain, from 2014 to 2017. The statue of Our Lady was decapitated and her hands were cut off. The head was recovered and has been reattached to the statue, but the hands were lost.

The statue comes from the Christian village of Karamles. A report from the Italian outlet SIR noted that it will be returned to Karemlash after the Mass. Fr. Samir Sheer, director of Radio Mariam in Erbil, commented:

“After the blessing, the statue will return to the Nineveh Plains. The hope of local Christians is that Our Lady will soon return to hug her children in Karamles.”

The SIR report goes on to note that Pope Francis will be presented with a gift of fine art. The pontiff will receive a painting made by an expatriate Iraqi artist. The work portrays Pope Francis standing between St. Peter’s Basilica and the Ziggurat of Ur, symbolizing unity between Rome and Iraq. At the pope’s feet are footsteps in the sand representing the journey of God’s people in Iraq and their martyrs. Cuneiform characters are also placed throughout the piece as a reminder that Iraq was the birthplace of the written word.


Read more:
5 Things to know about Pope Francis’ trip to Iraq

IraqPope Francis
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Larry Peterson
This is the only officially recognized Marian apparition in the U...
Philip Kosloski
A scientist describes the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima
Cerith Gardiner
Nightbirde finds inspiration in Joan of Arc
Philip Kosloski
Vatican II’s primary goal, according to St. John XXIII
Cerith Gardiner
Archbishop gives little girl a beautiful response about why God a...
Dolors Massot
Two sisters become nuns at the same time in Spain
Philip Kosloski
Pope Pius XII witnessed the Fatima “miracle of the sun” while wal...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.