Pope Francis in Turkey visiting the Blue Mosque
Pope Francis a risk taker
Welcome to our article (92); Let us follow the pope
Dear readers, in this article, we are talking about the pope visit in Turkey. You see, today the Roman Catholic leader Pope Francis is visiting Turkey, so, let us follow the pope while he visits Turkey.
Anyhow, I believe that the Pope is taking a calculated risk, because what the Pope is doing, is risky, since negative things can emerge. Today, I am looking at Pope Francis visit to Turkey and I am concerned, because something nasty can happen over there. We have seen it happen before with other popes when they have visited Turkey, so, it is possible that it can happen again.
You see, we have to remember that a Turk named, Mehmet Ali Agca shot Pope John Paul 2nd in Saint Peter’s Square in 1981, therefore, we Roman Catholic have to be careful, when we deal with Turks about religions, since most of them are Muslims, and most Muslims hate Roman Catholic.
Here we need to say that religions must not be like that, because religions are made to help people, and give hope to those people that need hope most. I know about religions because, I have written a religious theory called ‘Reconciliation of the universe’.
Anyhow, today to continue to write my religious articles, I am writing this important religious happening, which is the Pope visit to Turkey.
Pope visit to religious buildings
Now let us look at the main historic religious buildings that the pope visited in Turkey, it will give us an idea of their importance, and the importance that Turkey has played in the religious world; it is necessary that we talk about Turkey and its Geographic position, to see the reasons why most of the western religions have gone through Turkey back and forward. You see, Turkey is the country that links most religions and civilizations together, it is its geographical position that involves Turkey, you see, even today a lot of things happen in Turkey.
Here we want to paste a video link that talks about Istanbul’s Blue Mosque and other things that are important to know, in order to understand what has been going on over there for a long time; Istanbul's Blue Mosque - National Geographic, there are also other things in this video, but you can ignore them if you like.
Here under are some photos of the religious building that the pope has visited; we will say a bit more about Turkey history, because it is important to know, that in this part of the world have happened religious and other historic things, so, we are going to talk about a few of them, starting from this city of Istanbul that joins two continents.
Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul blue Mosque
Strait dividing two continents
Joining two continents
Istanbul also known as Constantinople and Byzantium is the city that joins two continents together, look at the map beside here and you will see that it is half in Europe and the other half is in Asia; their boundary is marked from the Bosporus Strait that not only divides the two continents, but it divides the city of Istanbul in half. The city of Istanbul has been important in history and continues to be important even today, a lot of things have happened in this corner of the world.
Having said that, we can say that the city of Istanbul is the place where East meets West; but what we are talking here, is about Turkey and the surrounding countries that have problems that can affect the entire world, and that is the main reason why Pope Francis went there to talk to them, whether his visit and his discourse is going to do any good remains to be seen, we can only hope for the best outcome.
While we are talking about this pope visit to Turkey, we can say that this corner of Turkey is one of the most strategic points in the world, it has had that position for a long time in history; so, to understand these important things, it is necessary that we talk about the history of Turkey and geographical position of turkey, and mention some mythology just to make it a bit more interesting:
We can go back as far as the flood mentioned in the Bible at the times of Noah; you see people believe that Noah’s Ark after the flood stopped on Mount Ararat Turkey, of course, there is no proof about it, just as there is to proof that the flood affected the entire world, but anyhow this is what people like to believe. So, Turkey is where everything restarted after the flood, according to the Bible.
Now let us look at its geographical position; you see the Bosporus Strait that separates the two continents and the city of Istanbul in half is supposed to be the strait that ‘Jason and the Argonaut’ went through when they went in search of the Golden Fleece, this is the first time that this place has been described in history; there is also the myth of the city of Troy and the Trojan war and the Trojan horse that even today means that there is an hidden danger inside something that is presented in a friendly way. In fact, we can say that this place is full of mysterious stories.
We can start from early in times; there are reasons to believe that the first notable civilization was in the Middle East. So, when we think of civilization and how the human race started to emigrate from this Middle East to Europe, Turkey has always played a major role, because people were forced to go through Turkey, and this has continued throughout history and continues even today.
The same thing has happened when the Christian religions developed in the Middle East, they went through Turkey and then Greece and to Europe, now you may start to think that humanity moves from east to west only, but this does not happen all the time, because other civilizations went through this place the other way around; the main one is the Roman Empire and it lasted a very long time in this part of the world.
Here we can add a bit of the modern history, that everybody still things about today, you see Gallipoli the Dardanelles WW1 Australia went to war in this part of the world, so again Turkey writes another chapter of its modern history.
Now let us go back to the old history; because of the Roman Empire influence, this part of the world became a major religious centre, today it is still an important religious centre, for the Christian as it has the Patriarch of Constantinople residing there, and that is another reason for the pope to go there, in the hope of mending some of their religious differences.
Of course, this part of the world today is more Muslim that anything else, but that is just another religion that we the people of this world believe in, and some religious leaders have described them as our brothers, as we are all children of God and we believe in the same God.
Now let us look at some historical and religious facts to see the changes that they brought with them.
Istanbul Turkey city of many names and importance
Comment on Turkey geographical position in the religious world
This map above is here to show you the city of Istanbul in more details, as one could be able to see a few things in more details; I hope that this map works well and you could be able to visit the places that we are showing our pictures at least, if you are looking to see the Hagia Sophia museum you should navigate on the left hand side at the entrance of the Bosporus Strait on the Sea of Marmara
Today we know that Turkey is a Muslim country, but it has not been like that all the time. Earlier in history Constantinople (known now as Istanbul) was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. One could say that Constantinople played a very important part in the development of the Christian religions that reigned over there for about a thousand years.
Believed to be the largest old Christian church in the world
Historic and religious facts
Anyhow, we want to talk about historic and religious facts, that have happened in Turkey, because Turkey situated partly in Europe and partly in Asia gets a large amount of people traffic, as they move from East to West and the other way around.
The most important things that come to my mind are two old military events; First military event, Alexander the Great army in 334 BC, starts his military expansion plans, and from Greece marches east to conquer his Empire. Before his time there had been many wars from the Persian kings who wanted to occupy Greece, but with Alexander the trend was reversed; and it was Greece and the Macedonian people that were the aggressors’, follow this link, Alexander the Great - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The second military movement was the Roman Empire. History tells us that the Roman domination in the old world lasted an exceptionally long time. Anyhow here we are talking about only those things that affected the Middle East and Turkey, and some of the old religions, as they changed with the passing of time.
What is important to note here is that the Romans were the ruler in the Middle East, when Jesus was born and for a long time after that. But, as it happened in the third century the Roman Empire had become so vast that the Emperor Diocletian decided to split the Roman Empire in two, while Rome remained still the capital of the western empire, Byzantium (later called Constantinople) became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, this splitting of the empire that began in the year of 285 AD weakened the Empire and did not help Rome, even though Rome had ruled most of the known world for a very long time.
So, a couple of centuries later the Western Roman Empire had completely crumbled, but the Eastern Roman Empire called the Byzantine Empire went on for another thousand years, until the year 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire.
Above we have talked about the military domination of the old times; now let us talk about the religious part that went on as well during those times. Let us start from year zero, which marks our current era and the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
At the beginning of this current era, there were many old religions, but the most important one’s were three religious groups: the Romans were polytheist like the Greek and other religions of their time, they went under the name of pagans; the Jews were monotheists had their Mosaic Law with Yahweh being their only God, all this is written in the Bible as everybody knows; and then there were the Indus religions with their many gods and goddesses, but the Indus don’t interest us here, so, we will leave them behind and talk about the other two religious groups.
It is a well-known fact that the Romans were polytheists and all religious were the same to them, so, wherever they went and conquered not only they took slaves from those places, but they also took their gods statues, so that the slave people could still use their own gods and religions; one can only imagine when they made Byzantium the capital of the Eastern Empire, how many gods and religions were there, since people were free to believe anything at all; this is the Roman side of old religions and now let us look at the Jews side of religions.
The Jews on the other hand were monotheist and their only God is Yahweh, so, they do not agree with any religions, it has got to be their way, they have had this way since Abraham had a covenant with God, and they continue to worship their God Yahweh and no other gods, so, everything was run according to Abraham or Mosaic Laws, but even this was about to change, because of the coming to earth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For the Jews Jesus Christ was supposed to be their messiah, therefore, they wanted to see this new religious leader to free them from the Roman invasion of their country, but Jesus was only a spiritual religious leader, so, when the Jews realized that, they found an excuse how to get rid of him and they did just that.
As we all know after the death of Jesus Christ the follower of Jesus separated from the Jews and they became a religion of their own, this is how Christianity started to form and subsequently it became the largest religion in the world; here under we are going to describe some of the consequences that followed in our sub title ‘Early Christianity’ in the world and in Byzantium. (Today Istanbul)
The pope head of the Christian Roman Catholic Church visiting Byzantium. So, let us go back to Byzantium of the Roman times. We have mentioned that the Romans accepted all religions, but has it happened Christianity was not accepted, and the belief was that they were up to no good and were plotting against the state, it is said that when Rome burned down it was the Christian that started the fire, and other negative events that happened were blamed on the Christians, it was one of those things that you have to blame somebody for something bad that had happened, and this time was the turn of the Christians; so, the Christians were persecuted.
So, Early Christian suffered a lot because of their religious beliefs, we know about their persecution and the martyr stories, but they never gave up their beliefs and they kept growing in number, so, around the time when Emperor Constantine reined 306-337 there were lots of Christians in Byzantium, in fact Constantine mother is said to be a Christian; anyhow, for some reasons that today are not clear; the Emperor Constantine ended the persecution of the Christians during his reign. Then under Emperor Theodosius 379-395 Christianity became the official state religion, and it lasted until the Roman Empire existed.
Anyhow, Byzantium, became Constantinople and known as the city of Constantine and this name lasted for a long time, but has been changed again recently to Istanbul, this is how this city has had three names.
Now, at the beginning Christianity was a bit loose but at the same time they were all known as Christian, but by the end of the first millennium or there about Christianity split and they became the Christian Orthodox, with one of their leader known as the Patriarch of Constantinople, and the Pope as head of the Roman Catholic Church; after that other religious split have occurred. And they will continue to occur.
We can say that in this city many religions have changed during its history, and this is one of the reasons why the pope went there to have his say, hoping to influence the outcome. But that is hard to say, knowing that in Turkey today they are 99% Muslim. We are going to say a few things that we know about this great religion, and at the same time we want to point out that religions sometimes change, as we have seen the change above, when Emperor Constantine changed from Paganism to Christian religion, and who knows when it is going to be next religious change?
Turkey and the surrounding countries involved
The map of Turkey and the states involved in this religious war
The surrounding countries of Turkey seem to have a problem today that could be said to be partly religious, because the people that make war over there want us to believe that it is God"s will that they kill these people that don't follow their religion, we know that this is absurd and it is just an excuse to make war.
For this reason Pope Francis is visiting Turkey, in the hope that he could influence somehow the government of Turkey and other powerful government to do something about it, or at least to try to help those refugees that run away from this very cruel war, so let us follow the pope visit.
This pope is a true believer
There are no other ways to explain what Pope Francis is doing in Turkey, except that he is a true believer, because Pope Francis believes that what he is doing is the right thing to do, he is trying too hard to do things that he believe need to be done, even when what he is doing can be dangerous, he still goes ahead doing it. Some of the wiser people ask, if that is the right thing to do in the face of this danger? As the danger he is facing is real because the population of Turkey are Muslims and they hate anyone that tries to middle in their religious matters.
But this pope believes that he can go there and tell them that they do wrong, well his intentions are great, but it is too dangerous to do that. At this point of time I ask myself, whether this pope has a dead wish and he wishes to become a martyr; Or does he thing that because he is the pope, God will stop the bullet to reach him.
I feel pretty sure that God will not intervene in these earthly matters even when the pope is involved, if God wanted to intervene in these earthly matter, God could have stopped those cruel hands that kill the innocents, like the executions that the terrorist of ISIL have carried out several times in Iraq; here our view are that God must have intervened, because the entire world would have liked to see that executioner struck down from God the moment he was going to carry out that cruel deed, but God did nothing.
So, at this point of time, we could even ask; is there a God, or is it all our religious fantasy that we wish there were a God to turn to, in case we need help? This makes me thing about what great thinkers have said in the past, and I quote:
"It would be very nice if there were a God who created the world and was a benevolent providence, and if there were a moral order in the Universe and an after-life; but it is a very striking fact that all this is exactly as we are bound to wish it to be."
"In the long run, nothing can withstand reason and experience, and the contradiction religion offers to both is palpable."—Sigmund Freud[i]
So, we may even ask if there is a god at all, because God never seems to come down to us and do anything that we wish he would do, even when terrible things happen, like the terrorists killing innocent people, so, there is not much to say about our God willing to do anything for us, when we really need his help; but even after this great disappointment we still believe in God and continue to pray God, what else can we do? We need to believe in God, it is an inborn sense that will never go away. Anyhow, let us follow the Pope visit in Turkey.
Following the pope
Now let us see the pope and what he has been doing in turkey. The Turk authorities have received the pope well, and for safety reasons they have kept the crowds of people well away from the pope, so, there has not been any religious service, like the religious services that the pope does when he visits Roman Catholic countries.
So, the pope was received more as a head of government than a religious leader in Turkey, but he still was able to say what he wanted to say, but not in a religious way or service. See this link below.
To make a long story short we are not commenting on other things. Anyhow, in his tour in Turkey he has visited many important places; he visited also the Blue Mosque, where bowing his head and clasping his hands, Pope Francis prayed together with chief mufti, Rahmi Yaran.
In Turkey because the population is 98% Muslim, they want the Hagia Sophia turned into a Mosque and that would be a bit of a blow to the Roman Christian religions and the Orthodox Christian; but that remains to be seen.
Anyhow, beside other things the pope met with the Patriarch of Constantinople, which voiced his objection about turning this now museum into a mosque, and they would try to do their best to stop it happening.
After all these happenings the pope celebrated Mass at the Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Istanbul.
The only other thing that we could add here is that the meeting between the pope and Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Constantinople, was to try to mend the breach between the two churches, if that ever happens then this religious group will become the largest single religious group in the world, at the moment it is the Muslim group the largest in the world.
More religious changes
Today we have talked about the Pope visit in Turkey, and we have talked about all religions in this part of the world. Now we have reached our last part and we want to talk the present religion in Turkey. We must admit that we do not know much about this religion, but we will say how we see it from our side.
Above we have talked about the change of religions during the Roman Empire that ended up with the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius banning paganism and making the Christian religion the state religion. We guess that the Christian religion should have looked like the true religion that would last forever. But even this religion is not lasting forever, especially in this part of the Middle East, because another religion follows. Today the Muslim religion is another religion that is trying to say that it is the best religion to follow, of course, this is how the Muslim believers see it. But we have reasons to believe that this religion will end up like the other religions; it is a matter of time.
The Muslim religion is believed to be formed from the offspring of Ishmael the son of Abraham and Hagar the Egyptian maid of Sarah Abraham’s wife; some people still see Abraham as the father of many nations as God had promised him. You see the reality is that the entire Bible is written after this man Abraham, even though in the Bible we talk mostly about Isaac son of Abraham and Sarah and their descendants, there is enough in the Bible to link also Ishmael and the other children of Abraham that he had later on.
Now, from what we have learned in our religious studies, we believe that religions go through changes, and these religious changes happen as the time goes on, because religions need to change to reflect the need of the people. So, what we see today that could never change, tomorrow because many things have changed religions need also to change, just like to old religions have changed.
All what is happening today in the world points to changes, the Christian religions are trying to sort their differences out and if possible, become one single religion, or at least cooperate fully with each other. This is also one of the reasons why Pope Francis went to Turkey, besides going to Turkey to talk to the government over there, in the hope of finding a way to stop the violence that is happening, because of the extremist terrorist; whether the pope visit is going to help, we do not know, only time can tell, but things do not seem well and we hope is does not become worse.
How we see Revelation
Today the world seems to get ready to spill in two, with the Muslim on one side and the rest of the world on the other side; so, we need to ask ourselves if the end of the world is near, at least this is how most people feel like. But what about the new system does it need to be run from God or is it just a way to say that we need to install a new System. Perhaps this new system will happen like other religious things have happened in the past, they became replaced with other religious beliefs.
As you know, we have been talking about this for a while in our religious theory, where we describe in an imaginary way how the forces of heaven can exist. If people take notes of what has been said there, then a new belief and a new system could emerge, if our theory is accepted from the public.
I can say a few more things here, but this article is too long. So, may God of the universe guide us to accept the right religious things according to his will?
Today the pope is now back in Rome, so, we wonder whether his trip has been fruitful, or it is going to infuriate the extremist Muslim community, only time will tell.
May God bless us all.
Some religious links
- Prayers of Reconciliation
Prayers of Reconciliation, I come to you praying Father Most High and eternal life giver of every living thing, I am praying thee for forgiveness of my sins and reconciliation.. People prayers to God.
- Pope's sign of the time
When even the pope resigns and this has never happened before, then we are lead to believe that it is the sign of the time, it is the sign of the time because things are going to change in the future.
- God of the universe
This is our theory of God of the Universe within the life cycle of the universe; God is the positive and constructive life force that guides the universe residing at the center or at the top of it.
Francesco Menchise (author) from Brisbane Australia on December 02, 2014:
Thanks for your comment, Say Yes To Life; I am glad that you see Turkey the same way as I do a dangerous place to visit, but the pope went there and came back all right; so now some Christian believer might claim that he was protected from God, or something like that.
Yoleen Lucas from Big Island of Hawaii on December 01, 2014:
Interesting article. I think ANYONE who visits Turkey is brave!