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In Turkey – Pope Francis will visit Blue Mosque and hold Mass in Istanbul cathedral

Posted by   |   November 27th, 2014   |   Categories: News

Although prayers and meetings with Orthodox leaders dominate the schedule of Pope Francis’ Nov. 28-30 trip to Turkey, he also will meet government leaders and visit Istanbul’s Blue Mosque.

His visit to this secular but Muslim country of nearly 77 million people also offers the opportunity for Pope Francis to join Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople for celebrations in Istanbul of the feast of St. Andrew.

The pope and the patriarch send delegations to each other’s churches each year for the celebrations of their patron saints’ feast days: the Vatican’s June 29 feast of Sts. Peter and Paul and the Orthodox churches’ Nov. 30 feast of St. Andrew.

Pope Francis also will visit the city’s Hagia Sophia Museum, an architectural masterpiece once regarded as the finest church of the Christian Byzantine Empire. It was later converted into a mosque in the 15th century and then turned into a museum in 1935 after Turkey became a secular state.

Pope Francis will visit the grandiose Sultan Ahmet Mosque, or the Blue Mosque, as it is often called because of the turquoise ceramic tiles that adorn the 400-year-old structure’s interior.   The scheduled stops underline Turkey’s varied cultural heritage and history as being at the crossroads of Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East.

PROGRAM FOR ISTANBUL

Saturday 29 November
- 10:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m.) Arrival at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul.

– Visit to the Hagia Sophia Museum.

– Visit to the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, informally known as the Blue Mosque.

– Mass in the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. Homily by pope.

– Prayer visit to the patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul and private meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew.

Turkey Travel Guide Tours

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