Pope Francis Begins Turkey Visit

26888696Pope Francis has begun his first visit to Turkey in a trip aimed at building bridges with Islam and supporting the Christian minorities of the Middle East.

On Friday, Francis will spend the first of three days in Turkey in the capital Ankara, notably holding a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at his newly constructed presidential palace.

Francis is to travel to Istanbul on Saturday and Sunday, visiting key sites of the city’s Byzantine and Ottoman heritage as well as meeting the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.

On Saturday Francis is to visit Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, a Byzantine-era church that was turned into a mosque after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and now serves as a museum, and the Ottoman-era Sultan Ahmet

Papal visits to Turkey are rare – 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.

1 Comment