Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew welcomes Pope Francis to Istanbul

pope istanbulANA-MPA – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Saturday welcomed Pope Francis at the Ataturk International airport in Istanbul for a two-day visit.

Accompanying the Ecumenical Patriarch to the airport were Elder Metropolitan John of Pergamon, Archbishop Demetrios of America and Grand Archdeacon Andreas Sofianopoulos.

The Pope arrived in Istanbul from Ankara, where he paid a one-day official visit as leader of the Vatican state.

From the airport, the Pope visited the old city, the St. Sophia Cathedral, and the Blue Mosque. He is scheduled to attend a mass in the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, near the Beyoglu district of Istanbul, with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Later in the afternoon the Pope will attend a Doxology of peace and thanksgiving at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. George at the Phanar. The prayer service will be followed by a private meeting between the two Church leaders.

On Sunday morning, November 30th, Pope Francis will attend the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral, where both prelates will deliver official addresses, exchange the kiss of peace and together bless the faithful. After the Divine Liturgy, a joint declaration will be signed and the Patriarch will host a luncheon for the Pope at the Patriarchate.

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