Pope expresses desire to visit Turkey for Council of Nicaea anniversary

Pope Francis has stated that he plans to visit Turkey next year to commemorate the 1700th anniversary of the first council of the Christian Church.

Pope Francis (L) and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (R) attend a mass together during Pope's visit in 2014.

Duvar English

Pope Francis said on June 28 he wanted to visit Turkey next year to celebrate the anniversary of the first council of the Christian Church.

"It is a trip that I desire to go on, with all my heart," the pontiff told a delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul, a Vatican statement said.

The early centuries of Christianity were marked by lively debate about how Jesus could be both God and man, and the Church decided on the issue at the First Council of Nicaea - now known as İznik - in 325.

Earlier in May, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who is based in Istanbul, said Francis was planning to visit the city before heading to İznik.

The Pope's travel agenda for this year includes a September trip to Asia and Oceania, the longest of his 11-year papacy, with stops in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Singapore.

At the end of September he is expected in Brussels and Luxembourg for a 4-day trip.