Metin Yilmaz: Heybeliada Greek Orthodox Seminary Should be Reopened!

Reopening of Heybeliada Seminary to education is necessary. Written by NationalTurk commentator Metin Yilmaz

Heybeliada Greek Orthodox Seminary Should be Reopened!

The first-ever built church during the Republican Period, St. Ephrem Syriac Orthodox Church is inaugurated in Istanbul.

I would like to thank Erdogan and as a Muslim, I demand to re-open the Heybeliada Greek Orthodox Theological School, or Halki Seminary for the sake of religious freedom.
Let’s remember its history, how and why the seminary was shut down!

Heybeliada or Halki Greek Orthodox Seminary is located in Heybeliada (Greek, Halki or Chalki), one of the Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara, across the Asian side of Istanbul.

The seminary was founded in 1844 by Patriarch Germanos IV to educate the clergy of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul as well as of the Greek Orthodox churches’ clergymen in the site of the former Holy Trinity Monastery, which was founded by Patriarch Photius I in the 9the century, but the monastery was destroyed in an earthquake in 1894, and present day facilities were rebuilt by architect Periklis Fotiadis, financed by Pavlos Skilitsis in 1896.

Metin Yilmaz: Heybeliada Greek Orthodox Seminary Should be Reopened!

The seminary was closed in 1971 by the military coup’s “technocratic government” under a law that prohibited operation of privately owned religious schools of higher education in Turkiye.

Since 1971 Greek Orthodox Patriarchate can’t have educated its clergymen in Turkiye.

In recent decades, the Turkish government has offered the Patriarchate to open seminary under a faculty of theology in Istanbul in compliance with Turkish legislation but the Patriarchate refuses to open the Halki Seminary under a faculty of theology in Istanbul.

The seminary is actually protected by the Lausanne Treaty of 1923. From 1923 to 1971, 48 years it served under Ataturk’s Republican laws, then what has changed in the Lausanne Treaty?

According to the Treaty of Lausanne, re-opening the Halki Seminary is a fundamental obligation of Turkiye to our own citizens, the Greeks.

Turkiye is officially a secular state and secular state must treat the all citizens equally regardless of their religions as Islamic Ottoman Empire treated them equally and gave them allow to establish the seminary in 1844.

In Turkiye, almost all political parties and non – governmental organizations claim that they oppose military coups but in reality, they always support military coups as they support 1971 Military Coup’s Halki Seminary decision.

Since 1971 neither any Turkish government nor so-called NGO remember and defend our Greek citizens human and religious rights.

Defending the opening of Heybeliada Seminary is not doing politics, it is defending the rights and Constitutional rights of our Rum citizens.

The seminary should be reopened to provide education in the same way it did before 1971.

It is not necessary to be a Rum to defend the rights of them, it is enough to be human.
I am not a Rum, but if I were, I would be proud of my Greekness just as I am proud of my Turkishness.

My side is our Greek, the Rum citizens’ side on this matter and I will continue to support their and other Non-Muslim Turkish citizens’ rights!

Heybeliada Seminary

Metin Yilmaz / NationalTurk

Patriarch Bartholomew - Metin Yilmaz
Patriarch Bartholomew – Metin Yilmaz
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