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Pope washes feet of disabled, including elderly Muslim

Published on Apr 18, 2014 6:41 AM
Pope Francis kisses the foot of a disabled person at the S. Maria della Provvidenza church in Rome, during Holy Thursday celebration, on April 17, 2014. Pope Francis visited a rehabilitation centre at the church for a service in which he washed and kissed the feet of 12 sick and disabled people. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ROME (AFP) - Pope Francis washed the feet of a dozen elderly and disabled people, including a Libyan Muslim, during an Easter ritual in Rome on Thursday, imitating Jesus Christ's humility.

The 77-year-old bent down with difficulty to wash and kiss the feet of the nine Italians and three foreigners aged between 16 and 86 years old at the Don Carlo Gnocchi foundation's Santa Maria della Provvidenza centre.

Pope Francis arrived in a Ford Focus to cheers from crowds and stopped to speak with elderly and disabled people gathered at the centre's modern Church in Rome's suburbs, before picking up a silver urn of water and a white towel, and kneeling in front of the chosen 12.

"It was the slaves, the servants who washed the dirt from the street off the feet of arriving guests. Jesus did a slave's job. He is God and became our servant," the Pope said.

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