Holy See Confirms Apostolic Visit to Turkey in November

Pope Francis to Visit Ankara and Istanbul

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The Holy See has confirmed that Pope Francis will visit Turkey at the end of November. Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi also released the Holy Father’s schedule for three-day visit.

The announcement of the visit comes one day after a Consistory of Cardinals which focused on the plight of Christians in the Middle East. Tensions have mounted as militants of the Islamic State are fighting for control of Kobani, which is near the border with Turkey. Pope Francis has repeatedly appealed for peace in the region and called on the international community to find a solution to the conflict through «dialogue, reconciliation and political commitment.»

The Holy Father will depart on the morning of Friday, November 28th, from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport and will arrive to Ankara Esenboğa Airport at 1:00p.m., local time.

The Pope will visit the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader of the Turkish War of Independence and Turkey’s first president. He will then head to the Presidential Palace where he will be welcomed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He will also meet with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and local government officials before ending his first day.

On Saturday, November 29th, the 77-year-old Pontiff will fly to Istanbul and make his way to the famed Hagia Sophia, and then to Sultan Ahmed Mosque, commonly known as the ‘Blue Mosque’.  The Pope will celebrate Mass at the Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and will conclude the day with an Ecumenical Prayer Service at the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George. He will also have a private meeting with the  Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.

The Pope will conclude his visit on November 30th, the feast of St. Andrew, with a Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral and sign a joint declaration with Bartholomew I and will depart from Istanbul at 4:45 pm..

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Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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