posted at 02:50
Author Name: Stuart Williams
Pope wraps up challenging Turkey visit
The visit of the pope to Istanbul - once the capital of the Christian Byzantine world and formerly known as Constantinople - has been heavily loaded with symbolism. On Saturday, the pope during a visit to the Sultan Ahmet mosque - better known abroad as the Blue Mosque - turned towards Mecca and stood in two minutes of reflection next to a top Islamic cleric. Their meeting is the latest positive step in a reconciliation process that began in 1964 with the famous embrace between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, the first such meeting since the 15th century. The pope is due to sign a common declaration with Bartholomew - whose official title is Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch - before returning to Rome in the afternoon. Of these only the small Franco-Levantine and Chaldean communities regard the pope as the head of their churches. After talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Friday, the pope called for dialogue between faiths to end the Islamist extremism. The trip has been less controversial than the last by a pontiff to mainly Muslim Turkey - the visit by Pope Francis' predecessor Benedict XVI in 2006 which was overshadowed by remarks he had previously made deemed to be anti-Islamic. Papal visits to Turkey are still a rarity - Francis will be just the fourth pope to visit the country after Benedict in 2006, John Paul II in 1979 and Paul VI in 1967.

Posts Archive