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Petition for the Re-Opening of The Theological School of Halki In Constantinopole (Istanbul) Turkey

To                          The President of United States and
                               The President of The Republic of Turkey
                               Members of:
                               United Nations
                               European Union
                               U.S. House of Representatives
                               US Senate

cc:                          Churches of all faiths
                               Pope John Paul II
                               Members of Parliaments of the world
                               Press

(1) We the undersigned strongly protest the continuing illegal closure of
the Orthodox Theological Seminary of Halki by the authorities of the Republic of Turkey since 1971.

(2) We seek the immediate reopening of the Halki Seminary which is the lifeline of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Great Church of Christ. The Patriarchate is an invaluable part of world culture and the Orthodox Christian religion. It is unique to civilization since it is the most ancient office that has continued to function without interruption since the establishment of Constantinople as the center of Orthodox Christianity. 

(3) The Halki Seminary was created as the primary place of learning and education for the Orthodox priesthood of all denominations. Its closure constitutes a breach of Article 40 of the Lausanne Treaty and Article 24 of the Turkish Constitution which both guarantee religious freedom and education. Their provisions are also embodied in Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights and therefore the closure of the Theological School of Halki can only be viewed as an illegal abuse of human rights and a violation of democracy and international law.

(4) We call on all people of good will, who are interested in the ideals of freedom, democracy and human rights to support the continuation of Orthodox Christianity in Turkey and the rest of the world by supporting the reopening of the Halki Seminary so that it can educate the future priesthood which will allow the Ecumenical Patriarchate to continue functioning.

Sincerely, 

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