Istanbul (Agenzia Fides) - To witness the Gospel, promoting ecumenical and interreligious dialogue and dialogue with culture, in specific ways, through Francis of Assisi’s example: this is the spirit with which the Friars Minor opened a new Franciscan fraternity in Smirne (Izmir), in west-central Turkey. As reported to Fides by the General Curia of the Friars Minor, the current Minister General, Fr. Michael A. Perry, and his Definitor have decided to back the existing fraternity of Istanbul with the new community in Izmir.
We are talking about international fraternities, composed of friars from all over the world: it was friar Hermann Schalück, then Minister General OFM, visiting Bartholomew I, who had the insight in 1995 of an international Franciscan presence. In the following years the first fraternity for ecumenical and interreligious dialogue in Istanbul was formed. This bears witness to the Gospel way of life by promoting ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, living in communion with the local Church and offering a permanent formation service to the Order. After twelve years, the project developed and the second fraternity was born.
"The dimension of evangelization - explain the Franciscans in Istanbul - is primarily lived in the development of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. Among the various annual activities, there are: the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, exchange and visits to Muslims brothers during Ramadan, a permanent formation course on ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, which has reached its 12th edition (the one in 2016 will be held in Istanbul from October 13 to 28), an interfaith prayer meeting in the spirit of Assisi, as well as various activities in the local Church".
News and details on the life and initiatives of the Franciscan friars in Turkey are now also available on the new http://www.istanbulofm.org website. For a mission that finds space in the digital world. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 06/04/2016)