Pope in ‘silent adoration’ in Istanbul Blue Mosque

20130218cnsbr14005-1024x680Pope Francis stood for two minutes of silent prayer facing east in one of Turkey’s most important mosques Saturday during a three-day visit to the Muslim nation.

His Istanbul visit was intended to offer a powerful vision of Christian-Muslim understanding at a time of violent Islamist assaults on Christians and others in neighboring countries.

His head bowed, eyes closed and hands clasped in front of him, Francis prayed alongside the Grand Mufti of Istanbul, Rahmi Yaran, in the 17th-century Sultan Ahmet mosque.
May God accept it,” Yaran told the pope, at the end of the prayer that aimed to encourage stronger ties between their religions.

The pope is on the second leg of a three-day visit to Turkey.

Later Saturday, Francis presented gifts and delivered a homily during an ecumenical prayer service with the governor of Istanbul and Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians. The two major branches of Christianity represented by Bartholomew and Francis split in 1054 over differences on the power of the papacy.

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