Pope set to visit Turkey at end of November
AFP PhotoPope Francis will make his first visit to Turkey at the end of November, Turkish Ambassador to the Vatican Kenan Gürsoy said, adding that an official invitation was sent to the Papacy on Sept. 12.
Gürsoy told daily Hürriyet that Pope Francis was expected to make a two day visit on Nov. 29-30, stopping in Ankara on his first day before heading to Istanbul.
The Vatican also confirmed Sept. 12 that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s invitation had been received, but Father Federico Lombardi told reporters that his exact date and program had yet to be finalized.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople has also personally invited the Pope to Turkey on behalf of the Greek Orthodox Church. Gürsoy said an official program would be drafted by the Vatican after receiving the official invitation, but Francis is expected to participate in the special liturgy for St. Andrew’s Day on Nov. 30 at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George in Istanbul.
Francis will become the fourth Pope to visit Turkey, a country with a tiny Christian Catholic community, following in the footsteps of Benedict XVI, who visited Turkey in 2006.