#3: No Legal Identity
The Ecumenical Patriarchate has no legal identity or bona fide legal personality in Turkey.
The lack of a legal identity is a major source of problems for the Ecumenical Patriarchate including non-recognition of its ownership rights and the non-issuance of residence and work permits for "foreign" (i.e. - non-Turkish) priests who are essential to the continuity and functioning of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Turkish authorities do not allow the Ecumenical Patriarchate to own any property - not even its churches! The Patriarchal house itself is not recognized as the Patriarchate's property and even the Girls and Boys Orphanage Foundation on the Island of Buyukada (Prinkipos) for which the Patriarchate has held a deed since 1902 is not legally recognized by the Turkish government. The inability to secure work permits by "foreigners" who work at the Ecumenical Patriarchate results in these individuals having to leave the country every three months to renew tourist visas which disrupts the operation and productivity of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and discourages staffing from abroad.
5 Issues of Concern
Daily Scripture Readings
3rd Archon International Conference on Religious Freedom to spotlight persecution of Christians and impending disappearance of Christianity from the Holy Lands and Middle East.
Open Doors USA, the California-based non-profit that has tracked Christian persecution for the past 25 years, points out that millions of Christians face interrogation, arrest, torture, and/or death because of their religious convictions and cultural or ethnic identification. The U.S. State Department reports that Christians face persecution in more than 60 countries with Pew Research noting that between 2007 and 2014, Christians have been targeted for harassment in more countries than any other religious groups.
The Hurriyet Daily News reports on 'Hagia Sophia, Halki mark religious freedom panels' by Vercihan Ziflioğlu
An international conference on “religious freedom in Turkey,” was held in Berlin, focusing on the Hagia Sophia and Halki Seminary issues, which have remained problematic for decades.
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