Pope Francis to visit Virgin Mary’s House in Turkey
İZMİR – Anadolu Agency
Pope Francis salutes the crowd from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St.Peter's square during his Sunday Angelus prayer on November 16, 2014 at the Vatican. AFP PhotoResidents of the small Turkish town of Selçuk, located in the western province of İzmir, will be honored to host the visit of Pope Francis on Nov. 28, the town’s mayor said Nov. 15.
Pope Francis’ visit to Turkey, scheduled for Nov. 28, and his planned visit to the House of the Virgin Mary has been enthusiastically greeted by the town’s mayor and its residents.
The House of the Virgin Mary in Selçuk has been visited by three previous popes – Pope Paul VI in 1967, Pope John Paul II in 1976 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.
“Pope Francis’ visit to Selçuk and its Christian cultural heritage is very important,” the Mayor of Selçuk Zeynel Bakıcı told the Anadolu Agency.
The visit will help increase tourism for the town, Bakıcı said.
Mayor Bakıcı noted that the town had greatly benefitted from Pope Benedict’s visit in 2006, after which the annual average number of tourists rose to 2.5 million.
Around 600,000 to 700,000 of the 2.5 million tourists come to visit the House of Virgin Mary, while around 400,000 came to visit the Church of Saint John, also located in Selçuk, on average every year.
The President of the American Society of Ephesus, Bill Quatman, will participate in the reception of Pope Francis, Bakıcı said.
He said the residents of Selçuk would be honored to host the Pope.