The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew referred to the tragic events of the 6th to the 7th of September ’55, to the recent conversion of Hagia Sophia and the Monastery of Chora into Islamic mosques and to the closed, since 1971, Theological School of Halki, on Sunday September 6th, during his speech, in the Ceremony Hall of the School, on the occasion of the ordination of Deacon Meletios Stefanatos.
“Today for the Theological School of Halki – even if it does not operate, for us it is always the Theological School of Halki – and for the historic Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity is a great, historical and joyful day.
Then years of affliction came for the School, which unfortunately continue with the suspension of its operation, despite any legal sense. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary since the fateful day of the shutdown of our School. And unfortunately it was not the only fateful day of the last years for our Patriarchate, for Halki, for the Greek Diaspora.
This very day, before ’71, when our School shut down, we had the Constantinople pogrom. Today is the 65th anniversary of that tragic night of September 6-7, ’55, when barbarism destroyed homes, shops, Churches of law-abiding and innocent people. Even their Cemeteries were desecrated and the mob disrespected our dead. No trace of culture, no trace of sensitivity.
And few weeks ago the conversion of the Great Church into a mosque and a little later the conversion of the most beautiful Monastery of Chora also in a mosque. As if there are not enough mosques in the City, as if there is a need for more places of worship of the believers of the prevailing religion here, the rulers hurried to make these decisions and actions, which offend us, affect our identity, our history, our culture. And we endure, and we pray.”
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew then pointed out that: “In these mourning, the unpleasant, the unacceptable, come moments of joy and rejoicing, such as today for Halki and for all of us.” He praised the diligence, modesty and devotion of the new clergy to the sacred and holy of the Nation, which are embodied and expressed by the Great Church of Jesus Christ. “We thank The Holy God who in this general reluctance sent us a new executive. Indeed, God is able to raise up from the stones children of Abraham”.
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew attended the ordination of the new clergyman.