Monastery on Halki wrecked

The partial demolition by Turkish forestry authorities of a 19th-century Orthodox monastery on the island of Halki, off Istanbul, has provoked the ire of Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios and the Greek community in Turkey. According to clerics at the Halki Orthodox Monastery, which is also located on the island, the demolition work began on Tuesday and was only interrupted after the patriarch was informed and intervened. Turkish officials forced the monastery guards and their families to abandon the monastery before starting the demolition, Bishop Apostolos, the leader of the local seminary told the Apogevmatini newspaper for the Greek community. The act is a violation of a house of worship and will be condemned in Turkey, abroad and by the European Union, Apostolos said, reportedly provoking an angry response from Turkish authorities. There had been no prior warning that Turkish forestry authorities had been planning any such venture, the bishop added.