ROME - Following the announcement of Pope Francis’ apostolic journey to Turkey, founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio prof. Andrea Riccardi has communicated the following statement to the Ansa agency:
"It is not just a tradition that continues, but the presence of the Pope in Istanbul is a very important signal that shows his interest in the first seat of Orthodoxy and, through it, in the complex world of interethnic and interreligious cohabitation that has always lived and still lives in the city of the Bosphorus.
In the footsteps of Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Pope Francis meets the complex multi-religious and multi-ethnic coexistence of Istanbul, but also the Turkish government, in such a delicate moment for the balance in the Middle East.
The meeting between the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch is not a ritual but it may be the premise of solidarity in friendship with the other primates of the Orthodox Churches and of the Pope's new meetings with the leaders of the Eastern Churches and the Middle East.
Pope Francis has repeatedly met Patriarch Bartholomew, but with his journey he intends to travel to the seat of the patriarchate and the city of Istanbul. It is not just a meeting but a visit to a world".