Following in the the steps of his predecessors pope Benedict XVI is about to begin his first apostolic trip to Turkey. His visit will begin from Ancara, the capital of turkey where he is scheduled to meet with president of Turkey and will make some visits to meet with the diplomats of that country. Then his trip will take him to Ephesus, the city visited by St. Paul the Apostle where on his second visit he spent almost tree years. Then the pope Benedict XVI will conclude his trip to turkey with the visit to Istanbul (former Constantinople), where he will meet with His Holiness Bartholomew I and other religious leaders.
Pope and Orthodox Christian Churches.
There have been many efforts during last century via ecumenical dialog to bring about unity with the Orthodox Church. While these did not produce evident results, it did bring to the table the leadership of both churches. The schism that took place close to 1000 years ago still looms over both churches today. While both churches recognize each other as "sister" churches, neither side had ever celebrated Mass together since the rupture of 1051.
Pope and Muslim World.
The trip to turkey is taking place roughly two months since pope's comments made during his trip to Germany, where he quoted an ancient emperor and stirred which stirred a controversy in the Muslim world which lead to desecration of Christian churches in the Middle East. The program of pope's visit does not say if he is to meet with any Muslim leaders of this predominantly Muslim country, even though pope went out of his way to distance himself from the views of the emperor he quoted during his visit to Germany.
What can his trip can accomplish?
As with his predecessor, pope John Paul II, pope Benedict XVI has an opportunity to offer reconciliation to the religious leadership around the world. Unfortunately the controversy that arouse around his comments in Germany, may prevent the Muslim religious leaders may find difficult to open up to a dialog.
Eugenia Brown is a writer for Everything Catholic! - website that promotes products from Ingatius Press, a Catholic Publisher. There you can find books and literature on variety of topics including Pope.