28 Nov 2014

Pope Francis heads to Turkey

Haighia Sophia in Istanbul
(Vatican Radio) What is the main significance and chief highlights of Pope Francis’s three day pastoral visit to Turkey this week? And what message is he likely to bring to the Christian and Muslim communities during his time in Ankara and Istanbul? These were some of the questions Susy Hodges put to Vatican Radio’s correspondent Philippa Hitchen who is travelling with the Pope during his trip.

Listen to the full interview with Philippa Hitchen just before her departure for Turkey

Catholic-Orthodox relations and dialogue with the Muslim world are the two main issues under the spotlight as Pope Francis travels to the Turkish capital of Ankara on Friday for his 6th international journey. The Pope will then spend Saturday and Sunday in Istanbul where he was invited by the Orthodox leader, Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew 1st  to celebrate the feast of St Andrew on November 30th.

Just six months ago, the two leaders met in Jerusalem and signed a joint declaration marking half a century since the lifting of mutual excommunications and the beginning of a new era of improved relations between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. So what are the expectations ahead of this latest encounter in the Patriarch’s headquarters at the Phanar in Istanbul? And how can the tiny Christian minority in Turkey help to promote better relations with the wider Muslim world?

To find answers to those questions, Philippa Hitchen spoke with Dominican Father Claudio Monge, director of a Centre for Cultural and Interreligious Dialogue in Istanbul and you can listen to the interview HERE.


Crux - Orthodox leader to Turkey: Re-open our seminary
Al Jazeera coverage
The Irish Times
NPR - In A Land Of Few Christians, Pope Will Reach Out To Muslims In Turkey
Catholic Herald - Pope Francis’s visit to Turkey puts spotlight on besieged Christians

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