Sunday, January 13, 2013

Turkey Agrees To Return Land To Famous Orthodox Seminary

In 2011, Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a decree returning to minority religious groups hundreds of properties that have been seized since 1936. (See prior posting.) Now according to Greek Reporter, on January 11 Turkey’s Council of Foundations agreed to return 470 acres, of forest land to Aya Triada Monastery Foundation which owns Istanbul's Greek Orthodox Halki (Heybeliada) Seminary. This is the largest expanse of property returned to a non-Muslim community since the 2011 decree. The return is particularly notable because the now-closed seminary trained generations of Greek Orthodox leaders including Patriarch Bartholomew. A push to reopen the seminary has been a high-profile religious liberty issue internationally. (See prior posting.)