Patriarch hails ‘highly symbolic’ visit by Greek PM to Halki seminary


Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios on Wednesday hailed a “highly symbolic” visit by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to the Halki Orthodox Seminary on an island off the Istanbul coast.

Vartholomaios expressed the hope that the school, which was shut down by Turkish authorities in 1971, will reopen soon.

In his comments, Tsipras said a decision to reopen the seminary “would be evidence of friendship, mutual understanding and brotherhood.”

He said that protecting the rights of religious minorities is a self-evident obligation, “and not up to negotiation.”

“Religious faith should bring people together, not divide them.”

Earlier, Tsipras and Vartholomaios attended a mass at the church of Hagia Triada (Holy Trinity).