Phanar to fight for orphanage

The spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights over Turkey’s refusal to acknowledge its ownership of a historic Greek orphanage outside Istanbul, a weekend report said. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, based in the Istanbul district of Phanar, decided to take its case to the Strasbourg-based court after a Turkish high court in October rejected its legal fight to regain ownership of the Pringiponnissos orphanage. An Athens News Agency report from Istanbul on Saturday quoted Meliton, Bishop of Philadelphia, as saying the Patriarchate would seek to have the Turkish decision overruled as it was in breach of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which followed the disastrous 1919-22 Greek-Turkish war. The now-derelict wooden building, on an island just outside Istanbul, was shut down in 1964 by the Turkish government, which also closed the Patriarchate’s Halki religious seminary in 1971. In the 1970s, Turkish courts ruled that the Patriarchate’s titles to the building were null and void.