Pope Francis has held a symbolic meeting with one of the most influential figures in Shia Islam on the second day of his landmark trip to Iraq, Report informs, citing AP.

The office of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, spiritual leader of millions of Shia Muslims, said the talks had emphasized peace.

The ayatollah received his guest at his home in the holy city of Najaf.

Since the pandemic, it is the Pope’s first international trip – and the first-ever papal visit to Iraq.

Covid-19 and security fears have made this his riskiest trip yet.

The 84-year-old leader of the Catholic Church earlier told reporters that he had felt “duty-bound” to make the “emblematic” journey, which will see him visit several sites over four days in Iraq.