Apostolic Journey to Turkey

Author: Pope Benedict XVI

Apostolic Journey to Turkey, 28 November - 1 December 2006

Pope Benedict XVI

Ankara: Meeting, President Religious Affairs Directorate
On 28 November 2006, the Holy Father met with the President of Religious Affairs in Ankara. After greeting all Muslims of Turkey, the Pope recalled how dear their land was to Christians, where many of the first Christian communities were founded and flourished.

Ankara: Meeting, Diplomatic Corps
On 28 November 2006, the Holy Father addressed the ambassadors to the Republic of Turkey, urging dialogue between religions and between cultures to overcome tensions through mutual respect. He described Turkey as "a bridge between East and West, between Asia and Europe, and as a crossroads of cultures and religions."

Ephesus: Mass, Meryem Ana Evì
On 29 November 2006, the Holy Father celebrated Mass at a historic shrine in Ephesus, where, in the fifth century, Mary's divine motherhood was defined by Ecumenical Council. The Pope's homily drew on St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians and St. John's record of Our Lord's extension of Mary's motherhood to include the Church.

Istanbul: Prayer Service, St George Church
In his meeting with Bartholomew I, 29 November 2006, the Holy Father recalled the earlier steps of Paul VI and Athenagoras toward mending the Schism of 1054. And he expressed the hope that their present meeting would bring further progress on the path to reconciliation and "peace of the Churches."

Istanbul: Divine Liturgy, St George Church
Following the Divine Liturgy, 30 November 2006, celebrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Holy Father described his presence there as meant to "renew [their] commitment" to reach "full communion between the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople."

Istanbul: The Phanar, Common Declaration
On 30 November 2006, the Holy Father and the Ecumenical Patriarch jointly signed a Declaration, in which they renewed their "commitment to move towards full communion," while expressing concern about the increase of secularism in the West, and "taking to heart" the cause of peace in the Middle East.

Visit to the Armenian Apostolic Patriarchate and Meeting with His Beatitude Patriarch Mesrob II
The Holy Father, 30 November 2006, visited the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral. During the celebration of the Word, the Pope said that his meeting with the Armenian Patriarch was more than an ecumenical gesture, but a sign of their shared hope of hastening the rebuilding of Christian unity.

Homily: the Eucharistic Celebration at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Istanbul
The Holy Father presided over a Eucharistic celebration, 1 December 2006, in the Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, in the company of the country's Catholic bishops. The Pope encouraged Christians to proclaim the Gospel "to the ends of the earth ... transmitting to the men and women of our time the Good News which not only illuminates but overturns their lives, even to the point of conquering death itself."

Concluding Remarks after the Eucharistic Concelebration
The Holy Father expressed his gratitude for the cordial welcome given him in Turkey.