Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios has reiterated his call to Turkey’s government to reopen the Halki Theological School.
Turkey shut down the seminary, the main training school for Istanbul Patriarchate clergy, 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,” Vartholomaios said Wednesday.
The Ecumenical Patriarch was speaking at a conference on a 1920 Encyclical that is considered a major contribution to the movement towards the reunification of Christian churches (Ecumenical movement).
“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,” Vartholomaios said.
The site of the Halki School, on an island near Istanbul, is owned and maintained by the Byzantine-era Monastery of the Holy Trinity and hosts conferences. An international campaign to reopen the seminary, by the EU and the US, has been afoot since the 1990s.