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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-04-22

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] US Sec. of State: US strongly encourages reopening of Halki seminary

  • [01] US Sec. of State: US strongly encourages reopening of Halki seminary

    Istanbul (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas) -- US Secretary of State John Kerry visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Phanar on Monday and discussed the reopening of the Halki seminary and matters concerning religious freedoms in Turkey with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

    After the meeting, Kerry said: "It's such a privilege to talk with somebody who has been such a voice for tolerance, a voice for interfaith understanding, who most recently visited with His Holiness Pope Francis and was at his investiture, and who has consistently talked out about protecting rights of minorities, protecting religious rights, and who is struggling for larger understanding in the world".

    "He is also an ardent environmentalist and has been honored by any number of universities, including our great University of Tufts in Massachusetts, with honorary degrees. He has a great following. I have many, many of his flock that I was privileged to represent for years in Massachusetts and have attended Orthodox services in Lowell, Massachusetts and other places, in Boston," the US official continued.

    "So for me to visit here with this protector of the rights of people to practice their religion and to try to bring people together in interfaith understanding is a great, great privilege for me. And I want to thank you so much, Your Holiness," Kerry added.

    During a briefing on the airplane that brought Kerry to Turkey, an accompanying State Department official said that one of the issues that Kerry would raise with the Turkish government is the Halki seminary, noting that the "Halki seminary was closed in 1971", and adding that ". And we have been strongly encouraging the Turkish Government to reopen Halki seminary" which, he said "would be an important step forward in terms of signaling Turkey's accord for openness, religious freedom, and tolerance».

    As for Kerry's meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch, the State Department official said "clearly just the Secretary's presence there signals our support for the important issue of reopening Halki seminary and our commitment to religious freedom".

    Bartholomew, in turn, said in the recent months and years " we have positive progress in the attitude of the (Turkish) government towards our Patriarchate and 9n general toward the minorities, and obviously we look forward to the resolution of our existing problems, such as the reopening of the Halki seminary, which is a great need for or Patriarchate, at present and for its future," the Ecumenical Patriarch told Kerry at the start of their meeting.

    "We do not have the ability to have better-trained young people and we do not have any other means outside the seminary, which was established in 1844 but unfortunately closed in 1071 and despite our efforts the government has not reopened it to date," Bartholomew said, adding that "we are optimistic, we are convinced that there is good will on the part of Prime Minister (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan".


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