Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, on Sunday welcomed Bishop of Arabissos, Cassianos, as the new Abbot of the Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of the Holy Trinity of Halki, where the historical Theological School is co-located. Bartholomew again expressed his hope that the school will reopen soon after the Turkish government shut it down 49 years ago.
In his speech, Bartholomew referred to the Holy Theological School, which has remained closed since 1971, despite the efforts of the Ecumenical Throne and the calls of personalities from around the world for its reopening.
“This year marks the 49th anniversary of the imposition of the closure of the Theological Department of our School. Unfortunately, the many efforts on the part of the Ecumenical Throne, the calls of important actors in politics and society around the world for the reopening of the School, have failed, despite the occasional positive signs. We still hope and fight. Here in Hope Hill, hope never disappears! We know that our own efforts are blessed and cried out by our God. We pray to the omniscient and omnipotent Lord, to give us the joy of the reopening of the School, to demand that we hear the sweetest sound of the bell, calling the young eloquent preachers, to the good lessons of the good,” he said.
The Theological School of Halki was founded on 1 October 1844 on the island of Halki close to Constantinople. It was the main theology school of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople until the Turkish government closed it down in 1971 when a law banning private higher education institutions was enforced.
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, that is still active and maintains the school despite being disused.