Benedict XVI's eventful Turkish trip draws to a close
ISTANBUL (AFP) -        Pope Benedict XVI brings his eventful trip to Turkey, his first to a Muslim land, to a conclusion by celebrating mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Istanbul's main Catholic parish.
Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of the Istanbul-based Orthodox Church, will be among the hand-picked congregation for the second mass the pope will have celebrated during his four-day stay.

The urban, downtown Istanbul setting of Friday's mass will be far different than that of his first mass in the country, at a leafy hill-top shrine near the antique Greek city of Ephesus, where Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, is said to have spent the last years of her life.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church on Thursday attended a liturgy alongside Bartholomew I at the Orthodox Patriarchate at Phanar; his meetings with the head of the Orthodox Church were the main reasons for Benedict XVI's trip.

Both men have put high on their respective agendas efforts to heal the nearly thousand-year-old schism between the Eastern and Western rites of Christianity, which Benedict XVI described as a "scandal to the world."

But both sides agree much remains to be done, and in a speech after Thursday's mass, the pope remained steadfast on one major point of disagreement -- papal authority -- when he stressed the        Vatican's "universal" role.

The pope also called for a renewal of "Europe's awareness of its Christian roots, traditions and values," possibly giving pause to his Muslim Turkish hosts who are making a troubled bid to join the        European Union.

On the busiest day of his trip Thursday, and just 10 weeks after outraging Muslims with remarks in which he appeared to link Islam to violence, he made a stunning conciliatory gesture, turning toward Mecca and assuming an attitude of Muslim prayer during a visit to Istanbul's Blue Mosque.

The gesture sparked a "did he or didn't he" polemic, the Vatican insisting that the pope had only meditated, while the Turkish media said there was no doubt he had prayed.

The pope is scheduled to leave Turkey at 1:15 pm (1115 GMT) Friday.