- The theological school of Halki, shut down by the Turkish government must be reopened.
The theological school of Halki was housed on the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, founded by Photius I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople (858–861 and 878–886). Patriarch Germanos IV turned the monastery into a school of theology in 1844.
An earthquake in June 1894 destroyed all the buildings except for the chapel. The buildings were rebuilt by architect Periklis Fotiadis and the reconstruction finished in October 1896. Other reconstruction was made in 1950.
The library contains over 120,000 book tittles and rare manuscripts. Other facilities are the offices, infirmary, a hospice, sports institution, dormitories and the Chapel of the Holy Trinity. Since 1951, the school has adopted a 3 years high school + 4 years higher level studies.
Patriarch Bartholomew I. Patriarchs, bishops, eastern Orthodox scholars, priests, theologians, native born Greeks and Orthodox Christians from all around the world have graduated from the theological school of Halki. Many of them are buried in the schools ground. The school was enforced closure in 1971, with the excuse that the Turkish Constitutional Court found certain articles of private university law unconstitutional.
The decision was that all private institutions of higher education in Turkey either unite with the state universities or be shut down. That was when the seminary section of the school was closed while the high school is still open but doesn't work because it has no students. In 1998 the school owners committee was ordered by the Turkish government to be disbanded but the international criticism aborted that plan.
The USA congress has supported the reopening of the school in October 1998 and the same did the European Union (E.U.). President Bill Clinton during his visit in Turkey in 1999 asked for the reopening of the school, giving hope to all Orthodox Christians all around the world.
We ask that the enforced closure of the Theological school of Halki by the Turkish constitutional court will be aborted because it is against basic human rights in education, religion and property.
The continuation of the schools closure will cause extreme damage to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople because that was the only institution that used to give supreme theological studies and its students used to become Patriarchs, bishops an priest for the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
We note here that the Turkish law also does not allow the election of a non Turkish citizen Patriarch, facts that in combination with the closure of the Theological school of Halki drives the spiritual head of 250.000.000 million Orthodoxes into extinction from lack of personnel with supreme theological studies that also have the Turkish citizenship.
So our request in the name of justice, truth and right is the immediate reopening of the theological school of Halki.