CONSTANTINOPLE – Repeating a request turned down many times, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said Turkey should reopen the Halki Theological School, the main training facility for Constantinople’s Patriarchate clergy.
The seminary, on an island in the Sea of Marmara off the coast of Anatolia, part of Greece until 1922, was closed in 1971 after a Constitutional Court ruling banning private universities unless they were affiliated with a state institution.
The Halki seminary “has contributed a lot to Christendom and civilization, theLetters and humanity,” Bartholomew said, reported Kathimerini.
He was speaking at a conference on a 1920 Encyclical that’s considered a major contribution to the movement toward the reunification of Christian churches, making a plea that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeatedly rejected.
“You are all aware that the Halki School has been closed for five decades now and that the Ecumenical Patriarchate cannot train its cadre according to the ecumenical spirit of the Halki School.
“It is certain that the suspension of our School has affected the Ecumenical Movement. The debate on the 1920 Encyclical provides us with the opportunity to petition the honorable government of (Turkey) to allow the School to operate again,” the report added.
The site of the Halki School is owned and maintained by the Byzantine-era Monastery of the Holy Trinity and hosts conferences and international campaigns for its reopening, including from the United States, has failed.