Let us follow the pope
Pope Francis in Turkey visiting the Blue Mosque
Pope Francis a risk taker
Welcome to our hub, Let us follow the pope (Hub 91)
Dear readers, let us follow the pope journey to Turkey in this article, you see, in order to continue our religious articles and link them properly to our religious needs, we need also to look at what is happening today in the world of religions overall; it is not good enough anymore to talk about our own religious beliefs, but we need also to follow the main religious events of the world, and then try to link them with our own religious beliefs; today we have a good chance to do that because the Roman Catholic leader Pope Francis is visiting Turkey, so, let us follow the pope while he visits Turkey, and at the same time let us say how we see what is happening for a start, and comment on it with our own beliefs.
First of all, I believe that the Pope is taking a calculated risk, because what the Pope is doing may or may not come out the way the pope wants; because there are reasons to believe that a few negative things may emerge. For this reason, today I look at the religious world and I am concerned, it seems to me that in whatever religion you happen to be in, there are risks involved, for instance; I am looking at Pope Francis visit to Turkey and I am concerned, because something nasty might happen over there, as we all know this has already happened before with other popes when they have visited Turkey, so it is possible that it could happen again and this time the outcome could be worse, perhaps worse than the following event that took place in Rome. You see, we have to remember that a Turk named, Mehmet Ali Agca shot Pope John Paul 2nd in Saint Peter’s Square in 1981, and therefore we Roman Catholic have to be careful, when we deal with Turkish people about religions, since most of them are Muslims and not Roman Catholic, and some Muslim extremists hate us Roman Catholic.
Here we need to say that religions should not be like that at all, because religions are made to give hope to those people that need hope most; I know a fair bit about religions because, I have read many religious books, because I would like to know as much as I can about religions; and as you know I have already written in hub pages several religious articles, in fact I have written a complete religious theory called ‘Reconciliation of the universe’, this religious theory is not finished yet, and I may have to edit my religious theory again in order to correct some minor mistakes and perhaps add a few other things, but I am almost there.
Anyhow, today in order to continue my religious articles, so that, my readers could continue to follow me in hub page I am going to write some important religious happenings, which is the Pope visit to Turkey, and this is one of the reasons why I am writing this article, the other reason is that I am really concerned about what is happening in the religious world, so, I would like to have my say and by the end of this article I will try to connect everything together, may God help me to achieve this difficult task.
Pope visit to religious buildings
Before we continue to talk about the pope visit and his personal ways of running religious things, let us look at the main historic religious buildings that the pope visited in Turkey, it will give us an idea of their importance and the importance that Turkey has played in the religious world; it is also necessary that we talk about Turkey and its Geographic position and the reasons why most of the western religions have gone through Turkey back and forward to these modern days, because this would be one of the reasons why the pope visited Turkey, you see Turkey could be or is the country that links most religions and civilizations together, it is its geographical position that involves Turkey, you see even today a lot of things happen that partly involves Turkey.
Here we also would like to paste a video link that talks about Istanbul’s Blue Mosque and other things that could be of important to know to our readers, in order to understand what has been going on over there for a long time, this is the link; Istanbul's Blue Mosque - National Geographic, there are also other things in this video, but you can ignore them if you like.
Here under are some photos of the religious building that the pope has visited; we will say a bit more about Turkey history as we go on in this article. Because it is important to know that in this part of the world have happened more religious things and other historic things that one would think is possible, so we are going to talk about a few of them, starting from this city of Istanbul that joins two continents.
So, here we may have to talk about a few more things religious and otherwise, and we will come back to talk about the pope visit in between our written views. In other words this article is going to be a lot longer than usual, because we would like to expand it, and then we will try to come to a conclusion about a possible religious outcome, or at least express our religious views about what we believe would be the best way to go about. So let us start from the city of Istanbul.
Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul blue Mosque
Strait dividing two continents
Joining two continents
Istanbul also known as Constantinople and Byzantium is the city that joins two continents together, just look at the map beside here and you will see that it is half in Europe and the other half is in Asia; their boundary is marked from the Bosporus Strait that not only divides the two continents, but it also divides the city of Istanbul in half. The city of Istanbul has been very important in history and continues to be important even today, it seems that a lot of things have happened in this corner of the world for one reason or another, this time has been the turn of the pope to have his say, in the hope that the world would hear his message of peace and do something about it.
Having said that, one could say that this city of Istanbul is the place where East meets West, but of course what we are talking here, is not only about Istanbul, but it is also about Turkey and the surrounding countries that seem to have problems that could affect the entire world, and that is the main reason why Pope Francis went there to talk to them, whether his visit and his discourse is going to do any good remains to be seen, we can only hope for the best outcome.
While we are talking about this pope visit to Turkey, it would be interesting to note that this part of the world because of its unique position seems to have a rather large share of important events that have affected all humanity throughout history, and I suppose that the pope visit is just another one of them. So, it may be worth to look at some of these events just to have an idea of what we are talking about.
Now we could also say that this corner of Turkey would be one of the most strategic points in the world, or at least has had that position for a long time in history; so, in order to understand other important things about this place, it is necessary that we talk about the history of Turkey and geographical position of turkey, and perhaps mention some mythology just to make it a bit more interesting:
We could go back as far as the flood mentioned in the Bible at the times of Noah; you see some people believe that Noah’s Ark after the flood stopped on Mount Ararat Turkey, of course there is no proof about it, just as there is to proof that the flood affected the entire world, but anyhow this is what most of us like to believe. Anyhow from Noah and his family the population of the world grew again and they migrated everywhere on earth, well this could be the oldest history of Turkey according to the Bible.
Now let us look at its geographical position; you see the Bosporus Strait that separates the two continents and the city of Istanbul in half is supposed to be the strait that ‘Jason and the Argonaut’ went through when they went in search of the Golden Fleece, now that might not sound very much, but it is one of the first times that this place has been described in history; there is of course also the myth of the city of Troy and the Trojan war including the Trojan horse that even today means that there is an hidden danger inside something that is presented in a friendly way, when in reality is not friendly at all. In fact one could say that this place is so full of mysterious stories that one would be able to tell them, one would think that they will never end.
Now, let us leave behind mythology and just say a few more things in the shortest way possible, as we don’t want to tire our readers by reading things that are not very important to this story, it is going to be like a double talk because we are going to mix history and geography, so let us begin.
One can even start from very early in time to see the importance of Turkey, this seems to be general knowledge and not just what is written in the Bible, because of its strategic geographic position; there are reasons to believe that the first notable civilization was in the Middle East. So, when we think of civilization and how the human race started to emigrate from this Middle East civilization to the west that is from the Middle East to Europe, Turkey has always played a major role, because people were forced to go through Turkey and this has continued throughout history and continues even today.
The same thing has happened when the Christian religions developed in the Middle East, they went through Turkey and then Greece and therefore Europe, now you may start to think that humanity moves from east to west only, but this does not happen all the time, as we are going to show you in this article soon, when we write about some other civilization that went through this place the other way around, of course the main one is the Roman Empire and it lasted a very long time in this part of the world.
Here we may have to add just a bit of the modern history, that everybody still things about today, you see Gallipoli the Dardanelles WW1 Australia went to war in this part of the world, so again Turkey writes another chapter of its modern history.
Now let us go back to the old history; because of the Roman Empire influence, this part of the world became also a major religious centre, as we will write here under, today it is still an important religious centre, for the Christian as it has the Patriarch of Constantinople residing there in a religious way, and that is just another reason for the pope to go there, in the hope of mending some of their religious differences.
Of course this part of the world today is religiously more Muslim that anything else, but that is just another religion that we the people of this world believe in, and as some religious leaders have described including some popes, they are our brothers, as we are all children of God and we believe in the same God.
Now that we have said a few things about Istanbul, being in a geographical position that favours people traffic and exchange of ideas, let us look at some historical and religious facts to see the changes that they brought with them.
Istanbul Turkey city of many names and importance
Comment on Turkey geographical position in the religious world
This map above is here to show you the city of Istanbul in more details, as one could be able to see a few things in more details; I hope that this map works well and you could be able to visit the places that we are showing our pictures at least, if you are looking to see the Hagia Sophia museum you should navigate on the left hand side at the entrance of the Bosporus Strait on the Sea of Marmara
Today we know that Turkey is a Muslim country, but it has not been like that all the time. Earlier in history Constantinople (known now as Istanbul) was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. One could say that Constantinople played a very important part in the development of the Christian religions that reigned over there for about a thousand years.
Believed to be the largest old Christian church in the world
Historic and religious facts
Let us remind our readers that we have started to write this article, because of the pope visit to Turkey, so everything that follows here has to have a link that affects to some degree religion or the pope visit.
Therefore, here we would like to talk about some historic and religious facts in a nut shell, so to speak. We were saying above that the country of Turkey being situated partly in Europe and partly in Asia it gets a large amount of people traffic, as they move from East to West and the other way around. Above we have mentioned about the movement that went from East to west at the beginning, and now let us see what has happened the other way around. The most important things that come to my mind are two old military events; First military event, Alexander the Great army in 334 BC, starts his military expansion plans, and from Greece marches east to conquer his Empire. Before his time there had been many wars from the Persian kings who wanted to occupy Greece, but with Alexander the trend was reversed; and it was Greece and the Macedonian people that were the aggressors’, if you want to read the rest of the history is here under this link, Alexander the Great - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
That is all about Alexander the Great, because we want to get back to other important events that happened in this part of the world, especially religious events:
The second military movement was the Roman Empire. History tells us that the Roman domination in the old world lasted a very long time, now we don’t want to say too much about it, just because it might not be of interest in this article, therefore we are going to talk about only those things that affected the Middle East and therefore Turkey, just because we are talking about this part of the world and some of the old religions, as they changed with the passing of time.
What is important to note here is that the Romans were the ruler in the Middle East when Jesus was born and for a very long time after that. But, as it happened in the third century the Roman Empire had become so vast that the Emperor Diocletian decided to split the Roman Empire in two, while Rome remained still the capital of the western empire, Byzantium (later called Constantinople) became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, this splitting of the empire that began in the year of 285 AD weakened the Empire and did not help Rome, even though Rome had ruled most of the known world for a very long time.
So a couple of centuries later the Western Roman Empire had completely crumbled, but the Eastern Roman Empire most time called the Byzantine Empire went on for another thousand years, until the year 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire.
Above we have talked about the military domination of the old times; now let us talk about the religious part that went on as well during those times. Let us start from year zero, which marks our current era and the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
At the very beginning of this current era, there were many old religions, but the most important one’s we could say were three religious groups: the Romans were polytheist like the Greek and other religions of their time, they went under the name of pagans; the Jews were monotheists had their Mosaic Law with Yahweh being their only God, all this is written in the Bible as everybody knows; and then there were also the Hindus religions with their many gods and goddesses, but the Hindus don’t interest us here, so will leave them behind and talk about the other two religious groups.
It is a well known fact that the Romans were polytheists and all religious were the same to them, so, wherever they went and conquered not only they took slaves from those places, but they also took their gods statues, so that the slave people could still use their own gods and religions; one could only imagine when they made Byzantium the capital of the Eastern Empire, how many gods and religions were there, since people were free to believe anything at all; this is the Roman side of old religions and now let us look at the Jews side of religions.
The Jews on the other hand were monotheist and their only God is Yahweh, so they do not agree with any religions, it has got to be their way, they have had this way since Abraham had a covenant with God, and they would continue to worship only their God Yahweh and no other gods, so, everything was run according to Abraham or Mosaic Laws, but even this was about to change, because of the coming to earth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For the Jews Jesus Christ was supposed to be their messiah, and therefore they would have liked to see this new religious leader to free them from the Roman invasion of their country, but Jesus was only a spiritual religious leader, so, when the Jews realized that they found an excuse how to get rid of him and they did just that.
As we all know after the death of Jesus Christ the follower of Jesus separated from the Jews and they became a religion of their own, this is how Christianity started to form and subsequently it became the largest religion in the world; here under we are going to describe some of the consequences that followed in our sub title ‘Early Christianity’ in the world and in Byzantium. (Today Istanbul)
In this hub we are talking about the pope, who is the head of the Roman Catholic Church, and for this reason we are continuing to talk about religions, hoping that in the end we would be able to link everything together. Now let us go back to Byzantium of the Roman times. We have mentioned that the Romans accepted all sorts of religion, but has it happened Christianity was not accepted, and the belief was that they were up to no good and were plotting against the state, it is said that when Rome burned down it was the Christian that started the fire, and other negative events that happened were blamed on the Christians, it was one of those things that you have to blame somebody for something bad that had happened, and this time was the turn of the Christians; for this reason the Christians were persecuted.
So, Early Christian suffered a lot because of their religious beliefs, we have all heard their persecution and the martyr stories, but they never gave up their beliefs and they kept growing in number, so around the time when Emperor Constantine reined 306-337 there were a lot of Christians in Byzantium, in fact Constantine mother is said to be a Christian; anyhow for some reasons that today are not very clear and very few agree to the versions of the stories that exist even today; the Emperor Constantine ended the persecution of the Christians during his reign. Then under Emperor Theodosius 379-395 Christianity became the official state religion, and it lasted until the Roman Empire existed.
Now, we could say that at the beginning Christianity was a bit loose but at the same time they were all known as Christian, but by the end of the first millennium or there about Christianity split and they became the Christian Orthodox, with one of their main leader known as the Patriarch of Constantinople, and the Pope as head of the Roman Catholic Church; after that also other religious split have occurred. So we would like to point out that these things happen in religions, and they will continue to occur in the future; we are saying this because we believe that there are more changes on the way, or perhaps we believe that it would be helpful if some changes occur in the future.
Anyhow, we need to go back to talk about Byzantium, because we have not finished yet, here we could also say that Byzantium, became Constantinople and known as the city of Constantine and this name lasted for a very long time, but has been changed again recently to Istanbul, this is how this city has had three names.
We could also say that in this city many religions have changed during its history, and this might be one of the reasons why the pope went there to have his say, hoping to influence somehow the outcome. But that is hard to say, knowing that in Turkey today they are 99% Muslim. We are going to say a few things that we know about this great religion, and at the same time we would like to point out that religions sometimes change, as we have seen the change above, when Emperor Constantine changed from Paganism to Christian religion, and who knows when it is going to be next religious change?
I believe that I have been carried away from these historic and religious discussions; so, I have almost forgotten the purpose of this article that was to follow the pope visit in Turkey, therefore let me go back to talk about the pope visit and then we will come back to say a few more things about religious changes.
Turkey and the surrounding countries involved
The map of Turkey and the states involved in this religious war
The surrounding countries of Turkey seem to have a problem today that could be said to be partly religious, because the people that make war over there want us to believe that it is God"s will that they kill these people that don't follow their religion, we know that this is absurd and it is just an excuse to make war.
For this reason Pope Francis is visiting Turkey, in the hope that he could influence somehow the government of Turkey and other powerful government to do something about it, or at least to try to help those refugees that run away from this very cruel war, so let us follow the pope visit.
This pope is a true believer
There are no other ways to explain what Pope Francis is doing in Turkey, except that he is a true believer, because there are reasons to believe that Pope Francis really believes that what he is doing is the right thing that he has to do, he is trying too hard to do things that he really believe need to be done, even when reason tells us that what he is doing might be dangerous to himself, he still goes ahead doing it anyhow. Some of the wiser people would ask themselves if that is the right thing to do in the face of this danger? As the danger he is facing is real, because most of the population of Turkey are Muslims and they hate anything or anyone that tries to middle in their religious matters.
But this pope believes that he could be able to go there and tell them what to do, and tell them where they go wrong, well his intentions are great but it is too dangerous to do that. At this point of time I ask myself, whether this pope has a dead wish and he wishes to become a martyr; Or does he thing that just because he is the pope, God will stop the bullet to reach him.
I feel pretty sure that God will not intervene in these earthly matters even when the pope is involved, if God wanted to intervene in these earthly matter, God could have started by stopping those cruel hands that kill the innocents, like the executions that the terrorist of Isil have carried out several times lately in Iraq; here our view are that God should have intervened, because the entire world would have liked to see that executioner struck down from God the moment he was going to carry out that cruel deed, but God did nothing.
So, at this point of time, looking at what is happening all around us one could even ask; is there a God, or is it all our own religious fantasy that we wish there was a God to turn to in case we need help? This makes me thing about what some great thinkers have said in the past, see below for this quote about God:
"It would be very nice if there were a God who created the world and was a benevolent providence, and if there were a moral order in the Universe and an after-life; but it is a very striking fact that all this is exactly as we are bound to wish it to be."
"In the long run, nothing can withstand reason and experience, and the contradiction religion offers to both is palpable."—Sigmund Freud[i]
Here we might even ask if there is a god at all, because God never seems to come down to us and do anything that we wish he would do, even when some terrible things happen, like the terrorists killing innocent people, so there might not be much to say about our God willing to do anything for us, when we really need his help; but even after this great disappointment we still believe in God and continue to pray God, what else can we do? We need to believe in God it is an inborn sense that will never go away. Anyhow, let us follow the Pope visit in Turkey.
Following the pope
Now let us follow the pope and what he has been doing in turkey. The Turk authorities have received the pope well, and for safety reasons I guess they have kept the crowds of people well away from the pope, so there has not been any large religious service, like the religious services that the pope does when he visits Roman Catholic countries.
So, the pope was received more as a head of government than a religious leader in Turkey, for that reason he still was able to say what he wanted to say, but not in a religious way or service. We could say a bit more about his visit, but this would also be available to read under this link below.
To make a long story short we are not commenting on many other things. Anyhow
in his tour in Turkey he has visited many important places; he visited also the Blue Mosque, where bowing his head and clasping his hands, Pope Francis prayed together with chief mufti, Rahmi Yaran.
In Turkey because the population is 98% Muslim they want the Hagia Sophia turned into a Mosque and that would be a bit of a blow to the Roman Christian religions and the Orthodox Christian; but that remains to be seen.
Anyhow beside other things the pope met with the Patriarch of Constantinople, which voiced his objection about turning this now museum into a mosque, and they would try to do their best to stop it happening.
After all these happenings the pope celebrated Mass at the Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Istanbul.
The only other thing that we could add here is that the meeting between the pope and Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Constantinople, was to try to mend the breach between the two churches, if that ever happens then this religious group will become the largest single religious group in the world, at the moment it is the Muslim group the largest in the world.
Some people because of all these religious things happening may start thinking that this could be the beginning of the end of the world, but we believe that it may be the right time for some religious changes.
More religious changes
Today we have started this article talking about the Pope visit in Turkey, and we have become stuck talking about all religions in this part of the world. Now we have reached our last part and we want to talk the present religion in Turkey. We have to admit that we don’t know a lot about this religion, but we will say how some of us see it from our side, and after we do that we want to come to a conclusion that includes all religions. May God help us to do that?
Above we have talked about the change of religions during the Roman Empire that ended up with the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius banning paganism and making the Christian religion the state religion. One would guess that at that time the Christian religion should have looked as the true religion that would last forever. But even this religion is not lasting forever, especially in this part of the Middle East, because another religion would soon follow, yes dear readers, the Muslim religion is just another religion that is trying to say that it is the best religion to follow, of course this is how the Muslim believers see it; but the rest of the world does not believe it is. So, we have reasons to believe that also this religion will end up like the other religions; it is only a matter of time.
The Muslim religion is believed to be formed from the offspring of Ishmael the son of Abraham and Hagar the Egyptian maid of Sarah Abraham’s wife, some people still see Abraham as the father of many nations just as God had promised him. You see the reality is that the entire Bible is written after this man Abraham, even though in the Bible we talk mostly about Isaac son of Abraham and Sarah and their descendents, there is enough in the Bible to link also Ishmael and the other children of Abraham that he had later on.
Now, from what we have learned in our religious studies, we believe that religions go through changes, and these religious changes happen as the time goes on, because religions need to change to reflect the need of the people. So, what we see today that seems that could never change, tomorrow because many things have changed religions need also to change, just like to old religions have changed.
All what is happening today in the world points to some changes, the Christian religions are trying to sort their differences out and if possible become one single religion, or at least cooperate fully with each other. This is also one of the reasons why Pope Francis went to Turkey, besides going to Turkey to talk to the government over there, in the hope of finding a way to stop the violence that is happening over there, because of the extremist terrorist; whether the pope visit is going to help at all, we do not know only time can tell, but things do not seem well and we hope is does not become worse.
Here again one does not want to alarm people, but since we are talking here about religions and religious beliefs; could it be that this is the very beginning of the time of tribulation, as it forecast at the end of the Bible in Revelation? We will talk about this here under to conclude our article, and we will state our own personal view about this possible future event.
How we see Revelation
The book of Revelation is the last chapter written in the Bible after the four gospels of the New Testament and it says many scary things, but is it really going to happen the way it has been written, that is the question. Some people really believe that it is going to happen, but some people don’t believe it at all, the general view is that it has been written to scary people, so that they would continue to follow the Christian religions the way it was at that particular time when revelation was first written.
In revelation the end of time is predicted with such dramatic result and it is going to happen whenever that appointed time comes according to God’s will. Now the signs that we will be able to see is that the entire world is going to be at war and all nations will take part in whichever side they chose; then the forces of heaven will intervene and most people will die accept for the chosen few, after that God’s kingdom will be set on earth as well as heaven and this will bring a new way of life that will continue only according to God’s will. So in reality a new system is going to replace this old system.
Today the world seems to get ready to spill in two, with the Muslim on one side and the rest of the world on the other side; so, we need to ask ourselves if the end of the world is near, at least this is how most people of the world will feel like. But what about the new system does it need to be run from God, or is it just a way to say that we need to install a new System. Perhaps this new system will just happen like other religious things have happened in the past, they became replaced with other religious beliefs.
As you know we have been talking about this for a while in our religious studies, and our religious theory, where we describe in an imaginary way how the forces of heaven could or would exist. If people take notes of what has been said there, then a new belief and therefore a new system could emerge, if our theory would be accepted from the public.
I could continue to say a few more things here, but I prefer to say nothing else because this article has become too long. The only thing that I would add is this; May God of the universe guides us to accept the right religious things according to his will?
The pope is now back in Rome, so we wonder whether his trip has been fruitful, of is going to infuriate the extremist Muslim community, only time will tell.
This is how I have understood this matter and this is all I want to report it, see you next time.
May God bless us all?
Some religious links
- Prayers of Reconciliation
Prayers of Reconciliation, I come to you praying Father Most High and eternal life giver of every living thing, I am praying thee for forgiveness of my sins and reconciliation.. People prayers to God.
- Pope's sign of the time
When even the pope resigns and this has never happened before, then we are lead to believe that it is the sign of the time, it is the sign of the time because things are going to change in the future.
- God of the universe
This is our theory of God of the Universe within the life cycle of the universe; God is the positive and constructive life force that guides the universe residing at the center or at the top of it.
More by this Author
Talking about religions and the need that we have for religions, what religions can do for us, some religious mistakes of the past and present, some comparison about religions.
Here again we are talking about religions and how they affects our lives, we talk about epiphany and other religious things, and also how this modern pope Francis is guiding his religion.
Here we are using our own imagination how God of the universe could be like, and how this God would work guiding all the spiritual life energies of the universe.