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 CNS Story:

POPE-TURKEY Nov-13-2006 (490 words) xxxi

In Turkey, pope to meet with Orthodox, Muslim, government leaders

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Although prayers and meetings with Orthodox leaders dominate the schedule of Pope Benedict XVI's Nov. 28-Dec. 1 trip to Turkey, he also will meet government and Muslim leaders.

The trip originally was designed as an opportunity for Pope Benedict to join Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople for celebrations in Istanbul of the feast of St. Andrew.

The pope and the patriarch send delegations to each other's churches each year for the celebrations of their patron saints' feast days: the Vatican's June 29 feast of Sts. Peter and Paul and the Orthodox churches' Nov. 30 feast of St. Andrew.

While the pope will pray with and meet privately with Patriarch Bartholomew Nov. 29 and attend his celebration of the Nov. 30 feast day liturgy, Pope Benedict also will meet in Istanbul with Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Jewish and Catholic leaders.

The first day of his trip, which will be spent in Ankara, the capital, will be dedicated to relations with the Turkish government, its office overseeing religious affairs and ambassadors serving in the country. The head of the department of religious affairs is Turkey's highest Muslim authority.

The Vatican published the pope's schedule Nov. 11, but without providing the exact time and details of many of the events; a Vatican official said there were still details to be finalized.

Here is the schedule published by the Vatican. Times listed are local, with Eastern Standard Time in parentheses.

Tuesday, Nov. 28 (Rome, Ankara)

-- 9 a.m. (3 a.m.) Departure from Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Airport for Ankara.

-- 1 p.m. (6 a.m.) Arrival at Esemboga International Airport in Ankara.

-- Visit to the mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey.

-- Welcoming ceremony and courtesy visit with the president of Turkey.

-- Meeting with the president of the government office for religious affairs. Speech by pope.

-- Meeting with the diplomatic corps. Speech by pope.

Wednesday, Nov. 29 (Ankara, Ephesus, Istanbul)

-- Mass in Ephesus. Homily by pope.

-- Prayer visit to the patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul and private meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew.

Thursday, Nov. 30 (Istanbul)

-- Divine liturgy in the patriarchal Church of St. George. Speech by pope. Signing of joint declaration.

-- Visit to the museum of Hagia Sophia.

-- Prayer visit to the cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church and meeting with Patriarch Mesrob II. Greeting by pope.

-- Meeting with the metropolitan of the Syrian Orthodox Church.

-- Meeting with the chief rabbi of Turkey.

-- Meeting and dinner with members of the Catholic bishops' conference of Turkey.

Friday, Dec. 1 (Istanbul, Rome)

-- Mass in the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. Homily by pope.

-- Farewell ceremony at the Istanbul airport.

1:15 p.m. (6:15 a.m.) Departure from Istanbul for Rome.

2:45 p.m. (8:15 a.m.) Arrival at Rome's Ciampino airport.

END


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