Pope Francis in Mosul: On the authority of a long-awaited monk and historian


  • Sanaa El-Khoury
  • Religious Affairs Correspondent, BBC News Arabic

Pope Francis in the destroyed neighborhood of Hus al-Baya in Mosul

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Pope Francis in the destroyed neighborhood of Hus al-Baya in Mosul

When the Pope prayed in Hosh Allegiance Square in Mosul on Sunday, there were two men that were not blessed by the joy of the earth: the French monk Olivier Bouquon, who lives in Iraq, and the Iraqi historian, Ibn al-Mosul, Omar Muhammad, who resides in France.

The monk supervises the restoration work of the clock church in Mosul, and the historian is the “hidden man” behind the famous “Eye of Mosul” account, which transmitted the news of the city, from the inside, during the control of ISIS.

A while ago, Omar Muhammad organized a meeting with the youth of Mosul in one of the city’s mosques, and invited Boukoun to participate. That day, one of the schoolchildren present approached the cleric and said to him, “I think that you are the first Christian I have seen in my life.”

The monk replied: “Of course you have seen Christians in your life, but they dress like you, not monks like me.” Then another disciple came up and said to him: “Are monks real characters? I heard about them in the Qur’an, but I thought that they are like jinn, they do not appear.”


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