#4: Closing of Seminary and Inability to Train New Clergy
The Ecumenical Patriarchate is unable to train new clergy in Turkey and its theological school was forcibly closed down by the Turkish Government.
The Theological School of Halki was forcibly closed down by Turkish authorities in 1971. Since its closure, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has had to send the young men from its community desiring to enter the priesthood to one of the theological schools in Greece. In many instances, they do not return given the onerous restrictions in getting work permits and the general climate of intimidation. Despite promises by the Turkish government to re-open our theological school, there has been no progress. Left unresolved, the administrative functioning and future of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is imperiled.
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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