Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

ICC Note:  ICC is pleased to report a praise report from Turkey.  Despite pockets of anti-Christian violence from random individuals adhering to Jihadist ideologies, the major concern of the Christians in Turkey – namely the Greek Orthodox Church – has been the slow restrictions upon basic liberties and religious opportunities in over the past several years.  The Ecumenical Patriarch is the top religious leader of the Greek Orthodox Christian Church in a region. For those pursuing this important spiritual calling, the religious students must attend schooling at a seminary designed to train them to be a leader in the Greek Orthodox Church.  For many years, only one such seminary was left standing in Turkey: the Halki Seminary.  However, it was shut down a few years ago with the government seeming increasingly unwilling to reopen it.  President Erdogan went so far as to tell the Greek Orthodox Church in Turkey this: “I will reopen your Halki Seminary if you build and construct to large Islamic Mosques in Greece.”  In addition to the Halki Seminary closure, the government had also begun to impose harsher property tax laws and property ownership requirements on the Orthodox communities.  Therefore, ICC is pleased to report that the Halki Seminary has been REOPENED in Turkey and stands as the only seminary for Greek Orthodox Christians to attend in preparation for becoming an Ecumenical Patriarch.  The comments of Turkish religious officials were also hopeful as they proclaimed that “no religious minority group” should have to leave the country to train their own leaders. Although some may note Turkey’s aspirations to join the EU as reason for the reopening, this news brings hope to the Christian communities in Turkey that religious freedoms in the secular government will remain in tact. 

2/28/2016 Turkey (Hurriyet Daily News) – No religious minority group in Turkey should have to look abroad to educate its religious clerics, Directorate General of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) head Mehmet Görmez said on Feb. 28, expressing lukewarm support for the reopening of the Halki Seminary.

“In principal, no religious minority group living on this land should need other countries to educate its own clerics,” Görmez said when asked about whether he supported the reopening of the Halki Seminary, a historical GreekOrthodox school in Istanbul, during an interview with private broadcaster CNN Türk.

Halki Seminary, a property of the Orthodox Church, was founded in 1844 on the island of Heybeliada in the Marmara Sea off Istanbul. It has been closed since 1971 as a result of that year’s Private University Law.

Görmez also commented on demands from minority religious representatives to receive a share of the Diyanet budget for their places of worship.

. . .

[Full Story]