Orphanage to change hands

A former Orthodox orphanage located on a small island off the coast of Istanbul is set to be returned to the Ecumenical Patriarchate today by Turkish authorities in accordance with a European court ruling. A court on the biggest of the nine islets that make up the Princes’ Islands is today expected to issue a decision overturning a previous ruling that had transfered the building from the Patriarchate into the hands of Turkish authorities. According to sources, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios plans to order the rebuilding of the structure – one of the largest wooden buildings in the world – and to create in its place a center for the protection of the environment and the promotion of religious dialogue. Both are issues that Vartholomaios, known as the «green patriarch» for his environmental initiatives, has promoted for years. In June, the European Court of Human Rights ordered Ankara to return the orphanage to the Patriarchate.