Home Uncategorized POPE FRANCIS PRAYING IN MOSQUE IN MECCA. HERE IS WHY

POPE FRANCIS PRAYING IN MOSQUE IN MECCA. HERE IS WHY

Pope Francis prayed for some moments in the Sultan Ahmet Mosque in Istanbul on of his visit to Turkey few years ago. He did so standing alongside the Grand Mufti of this city, head bowed, eyes closed.

The move was an important public demonstration of Pope Francis’ commitment to Christian-Muslim dialogue. Some have raised questions as to whether such dialogue is fruitful given the persecution of Christians by Islamic extremists.

The pope demanded that all religions enjoy the same rights, a veiled reference to the problems that Christians still suffer in Turkey, where about 99% of the population is Muslim. Christian communities complain that they struggle to gain permits to rebuild or refurbish buildings and say the government has been slow to follow through on his promises

“It was a moment of silent adoration”, the Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., who accompanied the Pope in the mosque, explained afterwards.

He revealed that Pope Francis twice told the Grand Mufti, “We must adore God, not just praise and glorify him.”

The prayer was part of a ‘beautiful moment’ of inter-religious dialogue, Fr. Lombardi commented. He explained that at one point the Grand Mufti said to the Pope, “God is a God of justice and of mercy. We are in agreement on this?” “I agree,” Pope Francis replied without hesitation.

The Jesuit Pope visited the mosque, known as the Blue Mosque because of the color of the tiles that decorate the interior of this beautiful building, soon after arriving in this city of 13 million people that straddles two continents – Europe and Asia.

Welcomed by the Grand Mufti at the entrance to the mosque, the Pope took off his shoes and then entered, accompanied by the Grand Mufti, another mufti and two imams. One of them then explained the history and architecture of this magnificent mosque which was built between 1609 and 1612. He prayed after the Grand Mufti explained some verses of the Koran to him, and showed him where the mihrab is.

By praying in the Blue Mosque, Pope Francis confirmed yet again his great respect for Islam, one of the three great monotheistic religions in the world alongside Judaism and Christianity.

Pope Francis is not the first Pope to visit a mosque or synagogue.

In 2001 Saint Pope John Paul II visited the mosque in which, according to tradition, is held the head of John the Baptist. The Sainted Holy Father removed his shoes and put on white slippers in accordance with Muslim tradition and paused for silent prayer at the tomb.

In 2006 Pope Benedict prayed in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque alongside the Grand Mufti.

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