Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI in Turkey: day 1

Pope Benedict's long awaited visit to Turkey has kicked off today. He looked awfully smart, that is if you can identify him in the thick cluster of security personnel surrounding him. This is an energetic, intellectual man of almost eighty years old with a razor sharp brain. He's on his life's mission and has no intention of shutting up for the sake of P.C.s, appeasers and timids.

As I was watching EWTV a guest commentator was quietly and with mild embarrassment listing the figures that have haunted relations between Turkey and the Christian world in the past century. It hardly makes any sense to Americans, having started historically as good as from scratch, so to speak. The figures however are staggering and the history is just appalling. In other posts we discussed the Armenian history, but the one concerning the Greeks is just as bad. Of a once almost entirely Christian land (Egypt, on an even par in this respect was also mentioned in passing) only pockets of a few thousand here and a handful of hundred there, remain. But the visit does provide a useful platform for a bit of a history lesson to the average European, who - enjoying a cheap package holiday on the beaches of the Turkish west coast - has no idea what happened there only a few decades ago, when over a million Greeks were forcibly removed from Smyrna (now Izmir), which was hence burnt to the ground.

But for the time being Pope Benedict's trip is conducted in an atmosphere of brotherhood, diplomacy and politeness, which is as it should be. Demonstrators were either not in evidence or were kept out of sight. Let's hope it will all work out as intended and Papa Benedict will be safe. Despite his fine figure and good impression he looked a bit tense and ill at ease, which is not to be wondered at given the security situation.
Tomorrow's schedule will be very exciting from a Catholic's point of view, when the Pope will celebrate Mass at Ephesus from St Paul's house, where also Mary lived the final years of her life.

From there on the Pope will travel later that day to Istanbul ((Konstantinou)poli, or The City as the Greeks call it) for the actual object of this trip, the meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew I in the Phanari district, the site of the Orthodox Patriarchate since 1601 (phanari by coincidence, means lighthouse!).

In all this religious fervor you'd almost forget this visit coincides with an important NATO meeting in Latvia . From this place and unless there are specific angles to the story, which I feel belong on these pages, I am not going to report on all and every subject, however important. There are journalists and reporters who do this much better than I.

On the other end of the spectrum of importance, the next instalments of The State of Malcontent I fear, will have to be shelved for a few days.

1 comment:

rorate.com said...

Ik ben heel blij te kunnen constateren dat er eindelijk iemand tegenwicht biedt aan de litanie van politiek correcte voor-oordelen die de gevestigde orde ten beste brengt. Er is geen land ter wereld dat akkoord gaat met het soort partijpropaganda dat Freek de Jonge 24 uur voor de verkiezingen laat uitzenden (en dat laat onverlet of Freek goed of leuk is; het gaat om het principe!). Nederland is echt de weg kwijt wat een aantal zaken betreft. Er is zo lang en hard gerelativeerd dat niemand meer weet waar de grens ligt. Ik ben maar vast een blog begonnen ter bestrijding van het relativisme/ deconstructionisme waar Europa langzaam maar zeker aan ten onder gaat. Commentaar van harte uitgenodigd. Wel Engels want dit project is veel groter dan alleen Nederland. http://millennium-notes.blogspot.com/
Gepost door strieale gisteren om 23:10u


Wat een bijdrage aan het relativisme!