Pope Francis prays in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque

Pope Francis waves to journalists as he stands by Istanbul’s Grand Mufti Rahmi Yaran upon their arrival to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul on Saturday.

(Reuters) – Pope Francis prayed silently alongside a senior Islamic cleric in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque on Saturday, in a gesture of inter-religious harmony in a country bordering the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Francis took off his shoes as he entered the huge mosque, before bowing his head in prayer for several minutes, facing Mecca and standing next to Istanbul’s Grand Mufti Rahmi Yaran, in what a Vatican spokesman described as a joint “moment of silent adoration” of God.

The Grand Mufti of Istanbul gave Pope a tour of Sultan Ahmet mosque better known as the Blue Mosque [Getty]

 A similar act by his predecessor Pope Benedict in 2006 drew criticism from conservative Catholics and some Muslims.

Several hundred people, many of them tourists, watched from behind police barriers as the pope then walked to the nearby Aya Sofya museum, once the Christian church Hagia Sophia.

A group of school children waving Turkish and Vatican flags chanted “Long live Pope Francis” in Italian as the Muslim call to prayer rang out across the Sultanahmet square, the heart of Istanbul’s historic quarter.

“We must show respect for each others beliefs. God willing the pope’s visit will help in this respect,” said Halil Ibrahim Cil, 24, a hospital worker from Istanbul.

“We want to practice our religion in peace. We want people to understand Islam. We don’t want war.”

Islamic State insurgents have captured swathes of neighboring Syria and Iraq, persecuting and killing Shi’ite Muslims, Christians and others who do not share their ultra-radical brand of Sunni Islam.

Francis said on Friday that fighting hunger and poverty, rather than military intervention alone, was key to stopping the Islamist militants.

The Blue Mosque, known officially as the Sultanahmet mosque, opened in 1616 and is the most famous in Turkey. Its popular name is a reference to the fine blue Iznik tiles in its main prayer room.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella and Daren Butler; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Hugh Lawson)



5 thoughts on “Pope Francis prays in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque

  1. The world religion is slowly but steadily popping its head. All for the sake of peace. How can two opposing sides even think to unite..?.. Because it’s satanically driven.
    Gordon, I feel we’re in the final countdown.. Who’s to know if next year’s blood moon ushers in such chaos, that finally issues in the impostor that will captivate the world. We’re definitely in a new era and not a very nice one..(to put it mildly.)
    Stand firm with Jesus who listens to a true and repentant heart. Hang-in there, where in for quite a ride. God bless.

  2. I see it happening quickly SweetJava. I sense it happening soon. What the Pope is doing is diametrically opposed to biblical teaching. I sense that the coming year will bring with it more sorrow and pain then we have already seen. I sense bible prophecy unfolding at a faster rate in the New Year, 2015.

    God bless SweetJava

  3. I agree with you, Gordon. One of three scenario comes to mind: Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38, or Daniel 9:27. Everything is align that any one of these is very possible. All effects the world in one way or another. All are predicted to happen. God help us all. Lets keep our eyes on Israel, and praying constantly; with the Tetras completing its cycle it will be a year of judgment for Israel and the world. God bless my friend.

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