Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ecumenical Patriarch Optimistic Theological School of Halki Re-opening 2011

In 1971 the Theological School of Halki was closed  by the Turkish authorities in a misguided ban on  private schools. Since the restrictions on private educational institutions many have been reopened with one notable exception Halki. The Turkish Government which prides itself on being progressive and democratic fails to acknowledge the sweeping civil oppression and human right violations for religious minorities. Turkey although resistant to acknowledging this reality is slowly responding to the carrot approach as the reopening of Halki has been linked with the essential mandates made by the EU. Greater then Turkey's pride is its desire to enter the EU.

Turkey is in a conundrum,  it refuses to publicly recognize the ecumenical status and international leadership of the Ecumenical Patriarch, while maintaining a hyper-reactive relationship with the Phanar. The policies and pressure applied to the Patriarchate would dictate otherwise. Why would the goverment officially attempt to micromanage the activities of a religious leader of which they assert pastors  less then 2,000 believers? This seems an irrational response to a local bishop. They have been unable to strong arm the Phanar with threats, intimidation or human rights infractions. Turkey could embrace the Patriachate which has a history spanning three empires within its borders. That would be a more power position and would demonstrate confidence rather then the neurosis they have been telegraphing.

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I optimistically awaits the anticipated re-opening of the Seminary of Halki by 2011.  According to a recent interview with "Kathpress" the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople  sees signs for an improvement of the situation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey. He considered the reopening of the theological school a certainty. His All-Holiness referred to the most recent comments made by the Turkish Vice Prime minister Bülent Arinc, during a TV-Interview,  in which he indicated that Halki must be re-opened  as Christians in Turkey have the right to educate their own clerics and theologians. Additionally several Bishops throughout the world have applied for Turkish citizenship to open the field for future patriarchs to meet more restrictions and limitations imposed by the 'secular democratic' Republic of Turkey.

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