First of all let’s be clear on one point: it was the Turkish government that dictated the framework and the official status of his visit. The pope’s original intention was to pay a strictly pastoral visit to Patriarch Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch. It was NOT his intention to have a state visit to Turkey, and certainly it had not been his intention to visit Ankara at all. Your listeners need to know that the Turks, even though nominally secular, are treating the Orthodox Patriarch as an obedient subject of theirs—and he did not have any say in this matter. What the Turks have done is the equivalent of the Italian Republic telling the leader of the Anglican Church that he cannot come to the Vatican and visit the pope, unless he agrees that his visit is to be a fully-blown state visit to Italy that would include formal visits with the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, and the laying of a wreath at the tomb of king Victor Emmanuel. ~Dr. Srdja Trifkovic

Advertisement