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article imageFrom Iraq village to Rome prison, Holy Doors swing open for Catholic Jubilee

By AFP     Dec 11, 2015 in World

From a village church in Iraq to a prison in Rome, "Holy Doors" have been opened around the world at the start of the Vatican's Jubilee year, offering Catholics forgiveness for their sins.

Pope Francis opened the Holy Door in Saint Peter's Basilica on Sunday, kicking off a series of ceremonies to open doors pilgrims can walk through in a year set aside for pardons.

Traditionally, Catholics were expected to make a pilgrimage to Rome for the Jubilee. But Francis has effectively done away with this custom by ordering Holy Doors to open around the world.

In some countries, up to ten will open, largely in churches away from the seats of power and wealth, as well as in refugee camps and charitable centres.

A door was opened in the church of Padre Nostro in Rome's Rebibbia prison on Tuesday, with another opened in the mountain village of Enishke in the north of Iraqi Kurdistan, the Vatican said Friday.

In Libya, a Holy Door in Tripoli was due to open later Friday at a ceremony for peace.

On Sunday, the pontiff will open another one himself at one of Rome's major churches, St John Lateran, with another to be opened at the same time one in the Azizieh neighbourhood of Aleppo in Syria.

In Arbil in Iraq, priests hope to open a special door in a refugee camp.

Francis called the Jubilee, which runs until November 20, 2016, with the express goal of changing the way the Church is perceived by the faithful, lapsed believers and the rest of the world.

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