Pope Francis: May Turkey have peace, coexistence, dignity

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Pope Francis lays a wreath of flowers at the Ankara Mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of Turkey

Pope Francis: May Turkey have peace, coexistence, dignity

Vatican Radio

Shortly after his arrival in Ankara Fridayovember 28, for a three-day pastoral visit to Turkey, Pope Francis visited the Mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first President of the modern-day Republic of Turkey.

The Pope was greeted by the Commander of the Guards, laid a wreath of flowers and paused for a few moments of silence. Pope Francis was then accompanied to the Tower of “National Pact” at the entry to the Anitkabir Atatürk Museum which exhibits the founder of the Turkish Republic's personal items, wardrobe, and a number of the gifts presented to him. There, the Holy Father signed The “Gold Book”, with the following inscription:

"May the Almighty grant peace and prosperity to the dear Turkish people, with the wish that the entire Country may increasingly become a place of peaceful coexistence between cultures and civilizations, where every human person feels welcomed and his or her dignity and free expression of faith is safeguarded."

In another development, as is customary during every apostolic journey, an exchange of gifts takes place between the Pope and the President – or leader - of the host country.

During Pope’s Francis’ meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, straight after the welcome ceremony on Friday morning, November 28, the Pope presented the president with a mosaic depicting the “View of Castel Sant’Angelo”.

The mosaic was especially created for the occasion by the mosaicists of the Vatican Mosaic Studio this year. Polychrome enamels were used, applied with oily stucco on a metallic base. The stucco is of the same formula as that utilized in past centuries to apply the mosaics in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The technique of “fused glass pulled by hand”, typical of the Vatican Mosaic Studio, was used in the production of the work which is taken from an oil painting by Antonello Riommi, a contemporary Roman painter.

The history of Castel Sant’Angelo goes parallel with that of Rome, changing role and significance as the city morphed with the times.

It came into being as a mausoleum commissioned by the Emperor Hadrian in a suburban area of ancient Rome and it carried out this original function up until about 403 d.C. when it was included in the Aurelian Wall by order of the Emperor of the West, Honorius.

It then became a castellum: an outpost fortress beyond the Tiber for the city’s defense. Numerous Roman families vied for its possession until a Pope of the Orsini family – Pope Nicholas III – ordered the construction of the Passetto di Borgo, that connects the Vatican to the Castle, in a physical and ideal continuity.

In 1367 the keys of the building were handed over to Pope Urban V, to promote the re-entry of the Curia to Rome from Avignon exile. From this moment on, Castel Sant’Angelo became inseparably tied to the fates of the pontiffs, who used it as a refuge in moments of danger. Thanks to its solid and fortified structure and to its reputation for being unassailable, the Castel housed the Vatican Archive and Treasure, but was also converted to a courthouse and prison.

Fri, 11/28/2014 - 19:32
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