Patriarch presses Powell over Halki

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios met yesterday with Secretary of State Colin Powell at the start of an official visit to the United States. Vartholomaios, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, was to meet with President George W. Bush later last night. The patriarch said that Powell had promised to help as much as he could toward pressing the Turkish government to reopen the Orthodox seminary on the island of Halki, which was closed down in 1971. «We discussed the dialogue among religions of our time, human rights and religious freedom. And within this context the issue of Halki was raised. He promised that he will help as much as he can. He believes in the need for the seminary to function again now and for the future of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,» Vartholomaios said after the meeting.The patriarch’s visit is scheduled to last six days.

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