Vatican relations with Orthodox Christianity are under the spotlight on the Pope’s third day in Turkey. The pontiff has been celebrating Mass with Patriarch Bartholomew as the two spiritual leaders attempt to patch an age-old rift between the churches. Nearly 1000 years ago the two branches of Christianity, based on western and eastern rites, split over rows including the Pope’s authority.
Later the papal visit will take Benedict XVI to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul as he continues his fence-mending with Muslims. Earlier comments made by the pontiff inflamed the Islamic world as they were seen as deeply offensive and critical of the religion. The visit to the mosque will be a first for Benedict since he became Pope.