VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis will visit Turkey “in the final days of November” at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Vatican announced on Friday, September 12.
Father Federico Lombardi told reporters the pontiff had received an invitation from Turkey’s head of state, but that the exact date and program of the visit had yet to be finalised.
Francis has already received an invitation from the Patriarch Bartholomew, the head of the Orthodox Church in Constantinople.
The Roman Catholic leader had expressed a desire to attend Eastern Orthodox commemorations in Istanbul in honour of St. Andrew, one of the apostles, on his feast day, November 30.
He and Bartholomew met following his election in March 2013, and again on a trip to the Middle East. In 2006 his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, also visited Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country.
Francis has made three official trips during his pontificate: to Brazil, the Middle East and to South Korea last month.
He is making a visit to Strasbourg on November 25 to address the European Parliament, and has also announced travel to Albania. – Rappler.com
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