Fr. Ruben Tierrablanca e Fr. Gwenole Jeusset were in the Custody of the Holy Land from 21 to 25 November 2005. They were invited by the Secretariat for Ongoing Formation to give a series of talks on the theme of Inter-religious dialogue.
The two Franciscans form part of the International Franciscan Fraternity of Istanbul. The fraternity opened on 8 September 2003 and was officially inaugurated by José Rodríguez Carballo, Minister General of the Friars Minor, in February 2004. It is made up of four Franciscans who live in the friary of Santa Maria Draperis. The aim of the fraternity is that of being a link of encounter and dialogue with the other religions present in Turkey, particularly Islam and Judaism, as well as with the other Christian Churches, particularly the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and the Armenian Orthodox community. Christians in the Republic of Turkey are an absolute minority, but this helps ecumenical dialogue to a great extent.
F. Ruben and Fr. Gwenole spoke about their Franciscan experience, and gave talks on the Franciscan calling to inter-religious dialogue, St. Francis’ own experience of inter-religious dialogue at Damietta, when he met sultan Kamil-al-Malik in 1219, and the biblical foundations of dialogue in the mystery of the Incarnation. The talks were given in Nazareth, for male and female Franciscans from Galilee, and in St. Saviour Monastery in Jerusalem, for the Franciscans coming from Judea.