Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday expressed their shared hope that the Halki Orthodox seminary, which was shut down by Turkish authorities in 1971, will soon reopen.
Tsipras thanked Ecumenical Vartholomeos for the tour of the school (high school and seminary) where he went from the island of Imvros at the age of 15 to train for the priesthood, in.gr reports.
Tsipras and Vartholomeos symbolically planted a tree in the expansive gardens of the seminary.
The 79-year-old Ecumenical Patriarch expressed his prayer that he will live to see the re-opening of the seminary.
The Halki seminary, formally the Theological School of Halki was founded on 1 October 1844 on the island of Halki (Turkish: Heybeliada), the second-largest of the Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara.
It was the main school of theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church’s Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople until the Turkish parliament enacted a law banning private higher education institutions in 1971.
The theological school is located at the top of the island’s Hill of Hope, on the site of the Byzantine-era Monastery of the Holy Trinity.
The premises of the school continue to be maintained by the monastery and are used to host conferences.
Photo courtesy of in.gr