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Council of Nicaea commemorations may take the pope to Turkey

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Pope Francis plans to visit Turkey in 2025. It would be to celebrate the 1700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea, alongside the Eastern Orthodox Church.

“Bartholomew proposed to hold it in Nicaea, in present-day Turkey,” explained Nikos Tzotis, advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Rome.

“The ruins of the first ecumenical Synod are there. But it is a significant event, let’s say, preparations have already begun, initiatives are underway, speeches are being prepared.”

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Although there is still no official confirmation from the Vatican, it was Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople himself who pointed out this possibility:

“His Holiness, Pope Francis, wishes to celebrate this important anniversary together and plans to come to our country to visit the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Then we will travel together to Nicaea, to Iznik, for an important historical celebration of this anniversary.”

Should the trip take place, the world would see important images of ecumenism, like in 2014 when the pope travelled to Turkey on the feast of St Andrew, the first patriarch of the Orthodox Church.

“The only thing that the Catholic Church desires and that I seek as Bishop of Rome, the Church that presides in charity, is communion with the Orthodox Churches,” said Pope Francis.

Since then, the pope has set an example with several ecumenical gestures. He restored the title of Patriarch of the West in the Pontifical Yearbook of 2024.

For the Orthodox Church, the pope was historically one of the patriarchs, although the official reasons for this title are not known.

Looking ahead to 2025, another gesture of communion between Catholics and Orthodox is also being considered: to celebrate Easter on the same day.

It currently takes place on two different dates due to the differences between the Gregorian and Julian calendars. This is one of the long-standing wishes of Pope Francis and also of Patriarch Bartholomew. Their meeting next year will lead to dialogue on this issue, as 2025 coincides with the Jubilee Year of both churches.

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