Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bartholomew Urges Turkey to Allow More Rel. Freedom; Wants Turkey to Reopen Greek Orthodox Seminary

The Christian Broadcast Network website reports today (February 21, 2012) that the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians says Turkey's new constitution should grant more religious freedom to the Islamic country's minority groups.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met on February 20 with members of a parliamentary subcommittee seeking an all-party consensus for a new constitution, which will replace the one ratified in 1982 while Turkey was under military rule.

Bartholomew said he favors a constitution that promotes equal rights and religious freedoms, including the reopening of the Halki Greek Orthodox Seminary that Turkey closed down in 1971. Turkey has promised it will allow the Halki Seminary to reopen -- on several occasions -- during the past five years, but has not kept any of its promises.

Bartholomew -- who is based in Istanbul (formerly called Constantinople) -- is the spiritual leader of more than 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.