From 5-9 April 2023, the Minister General, Br Massimo Fusarelli and Definitor General for Asia-Oceania and Delegate General for Türkiye, Br John Wong, made an official visit to the brothers in Istanbul, Izmir-Bornova, and Selçuk.
We receive and publish Br John’s report of the visit.
The Guardianate of Istanbul, with its Friary of Santa Maria Draperis in Istanbul and its Filial house in Bornova, which is directly under the Minister General, has a special mandate as a community for dialogue in this land that is very much a crossroads of cultures and civilizations.
Today, there are 10 friars in this community, who originate from Argentina, Congo, France, Indonesia, Italy, Pakistan and the United States of America. The friars are committed to Ecumenical and Interfaith Dialogue which they carry out in many ways, including through formation sessions and an annual School for Dialogue; care for migrants, the poor and persons in crisis; the ministry of welcome and hospitality in the friaries and parishes; and a new “Laudato Sì” environmental project.
In addition to the friars of this community, the Province of the Holy Martyrs in Korea has a small house of prayer in Selcuk near Ephesus that is currently served by 2 friars who also offer pastoral care for the Korean community in Istanbul, and who are involved in an environmental project for the Izmir Diocese.
On the first day of this visit, the brothers in Istanbul gathered with the local Franciscan family for lunch at the Conventual Friary of St Anthony, together with brothers and sisters of the Focolare movement.
In addition to meetings and Easter Triduum liturgical celebrations with the friars and local communities, Br Massimo and Br John also met with the Apostolic Vicar of Istanbul, Mgr Massimiliano Palinuro, and the Archbishop of Izmir, Mgr Martin Kmetec OFMconv.
A very special highlight of this visit was an audience with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, His All-Holiness Bartholomew I, and the signing of a 10-year contract to share our parish church property of Santa Maria in Izmir with the Orthodox Church, as a gesture of fraternal solidarity, concrete expression of ecumenical brotherhood and positive witness to Christian unity.
In the pictures:
5/4 Fraternal Gathering of Friars Minor with Conventual Friars, Capuchin Friars, Franciscan Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, and members of the Focolare movement at the Conventual Friars' Convent of St Anthony in Istanbul.
6/4 Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord's Supper at the Dominican Church of Ss Peter and Paul in Istanbul.
7/4 Good Friday Stations of the Cross and Passion of the Lord at Franciscan Church of Santa Maria Draperis in Istanbul.
9/4 Easter Sunday at Cathedral Basilica of St John in Izmir, with the 4 friars of the OFM Izmir community.
Br John Wong
Definitor General for Asia-Oceania and Delegate General for Türkiye