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    » 11/30/2010, 00.00

    TURKEY

    The Turkish government now recognises us officially, says Bartholomew I

    NAT da Polis

    Coming on the eve of the feast day of Saint Andrew the Apostle, the return of the Buyukada orphanage is extremely significant for Orthodox Christians and marks an important moment for Turkish Christians. A Vatican delegation led by Card Kurt Koch attends the celebrations.

    Istanbul (AsiaNews) – The Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate celebrated its foremost feast day today, the day of Saint Andrew, the Apostle of Constantinople, but it also marked the successful end of a legal battle with the Turkish state over the Buyukada orphanage. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, after meeting with a delegation from the Holy See led by newly appointed Card Kurt Koch, the new president of the Council for Christian Unity, expressed his emotions in an interview with AsiaNews.

    “Today is a great day for our Great Mother Church. The orphanage on Princes Island (Buyukada) has been given back to us. What we inherited from our ancestors has also been returned to us. We could not tolerate the injustice done to us. We first turned to Turkey’s courts. Since we lost all of our cases, we turned to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which gave us justice,” the Patriarch said.

    The implications of the return to the Patriarchate of the ‘Tapu’ (title deed) are of great significance. “The Turkish government did not appeal against the court’s ruling, starting instead the procedures to return us the orphanage,” Bartholomew said. “I want to stress the tapu by Turkish authorities is issued in the name of our Patriarchate, as Rum Patrikanesi. This means not only the return of the orphanage but also the official recognition of our Patriarchate as a legal person. This is a positive step.”

    “Our struggle must teach us never to put down our spiritual tools and always trust Divine Providence, which knows when and how to overcome human obstacles and weaknesses,” the Ecumenical Patriarch said.

    Ioannis Ktistakis, one of the lawyers that represented the Fener (the Patriarchate) in the case, spoke to AsiaNews about the case after the Ecumenical Patriarch received the tapu.

    “We fought to re-establish civil rights in Turkey. Our struggle was first about rights, and only secondarily about a title deed. It was about re-establishing rights in this country as in any other country since the rights of a centuries-old institution like the Ecumenical Patriarchate had been violated.” (picture by Nikos Mangina).

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    See also

    16/06/2010 TURKEY – EUROPEAN UNION
    Strasbourg court rules Turkey must return orphanage to Ecumenical Patriarchate
    The mandatory ruling opens new perspectives for the legal recognition of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which Turkish authorities have not done yet. It also gives hope to the Armenian, Jewish and Catholic minorities. The orphanage is expected to become an international centre for the protection of the environment as well as a centre for inter-faith dialogue.

    29/11/2010 TURKEY
    Turkish government hands over Buyukada orphanage to Orthodox
    The hand over of the deeds of ownership of the building, located on Princes’ Islands, to the Patriarch, could happen today. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in June 2010 that the orphanage was to be returned. Tomorrow the Patriarchate celebrates the feast of St. Andrew, attended by a Vatican delegation.

    29/01/2008 TURKEY
    Divided in Ravenna, Russian and Estonian Orthodox to talk
    Bartholomew I is promoting a meeting between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Church of Estonia. Last October the Russians quit the Ravenna meeting because of the presence of Estonian representatives. In concluding the prayer for Christian unity, the ecumenical patriarch expressed his desire to see the process of unification speed up, stressing how ‘historical’ was the joint declaration made by Catholics and Orthodox in Ravenna. He also talks about spreading the Gospel in Hong Kong.

    01/12/2005 TURKEY
    Closer dialogue between Vatican and Ecumenical Patriarchate
    The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue should be convened very soon. Vatican delegation visits Fanar neighbourhood on the Feast Day of St Andrew.

    28/08/2007 TURKEY
    The Ecumenical Patriarchate opens its Synod
    There are 100 bishops gathered in Phanar. On the agenda, the current point in the campaign against Bartholmew I, generated by Buijidar Cipof, the schismatic Bulgarian Exarch. The Patriarch announces a visit to Premier Erdogan, to have a “sincere answer” regarding the reopening of the Theological college of Halki.



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