March 21, 2013 - 15:21 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said that it was possible for Pope Francis to visit Turkey in the near future, in the way that previous popes have visited the country, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
When Lombardi was asked whether Bartholomew had invited the pope to Istanbul or not, he said that he had no information on the matter. “However, the visit is possible, because former popes paid visits to Istanbul and similarly the Patriarch visits the Vatican frequently. Istanbul visits have almost become a tradition,” he said.
Christian unity is the most pressing concern for religious leaders, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew said March 20 as Pope Francis received representatives of major world religions in the Vatican.
Bartholomew opened the meeting, attended by Christian leaders and representatives of Buddhism, Islam and Judaism, in an ornate Vatican hall.
In his address, Bartholomew said Christian unity was “our first and most important concern” and called on the pope to “correct worldly tendencies” in Christianity. Francis assured Bartholomew – whom he referred to as his “brother” – of his “firm willingness to continue down the path of ecumenical dialogue.” He said these assurances were very much “in line with his predecessor” Benedict XVI, who was a keen promoter of interreligious dialogue.