Pope Francis will visit Turkey from 28 to 30 November.
This was announced on Tuesday morning, 21 October, by Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, explaining that the Pope “accepted the invitation of the President of the Republic, of His Holiness Bartholomew I and the President of the Episcopal Conference”.
The Holy Father will also visit Ankara and Istanbul.
During the press conference the schedule of the Pope’s apostolic journey was also announced. In Ankara on the first day, the Holy Father will visit the mausoleum of Atatürk, “Father of the Nation”, and meet with the highest State authorities. On Saturday, 29 November, the Bishop of Rome will travel to Istanbul for the religious part of the visit. At the museum of Hagia Sophia and the Sultan Ahmet Mosque the Pope will meet with the Muslim community; then he will celebrate Mass in the Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, where he will also take part in the ecumenical prayer service in the Patriarchal Church of St George.
The Pope and Bartholomew I will meet privately in the Patriarchal Palace. On the last day, Sunday 30, Feast of St Andrew the Apostle, the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated in the Patriarchal Church with the ecumenical blessing and the signing of the Joint Declaration. Finally the Pope will have lunch with the Ecumenical Patriarch.