The Patriarchal Theological School of Halki
This new year is one of promise and expectation, yet it marks a sad but significant anniversary of which we faithful should always be cognizant. This year is the 50th anniversary of the tragic closure of the historic and renown Patriarchal Theological School of Halki . As an Archon of the Great Church, I deeply feel that we Orthodox Christians should be aware of the impact of this tragic attack on Religious Liberty. Most especially at this time. after the unlawful conversion into a mosque of the Great Cathedral of Hagia Sophia and the historic Church of Our Saviour in Chora by the Turkish government, we need to educate ourselves. Our school of Halki has been educating Orthodox clergy since 1844, yet it remains closed by order of the Turkish authorities. Below please find an excellent paper by Archon Elias Damianakis, the celebrated iconographer. Please take a few minutes to educate yourselves. Tell the story and support the reopening of our school as a matter of Religious Freedom with letters to your elected officials. God Bless and Happy New Year…..Fr. George
HALKI 1971 2021
As you know I have only recently been ordained into the Holy Priesthood. As the son, nephew and cousin of priests, I can attest to the truth of this article. I know and respect George Stavros who is the Clinical Associate Professor of Pastoral Psychology and serves as the Executive Director of the Danielsen Institute at Boston University. He is a a world authority and expert in this field. He is also a devoted family man and pious Orthodox Christian. As you interact with your parish priest please be aware of the demands on his time and the effect on his family. God Bless…..fr g
Eastern Orthodox Clergy: An At-Risk Population
The pain on Pope Shenouda III’s face.
One of the sad consequences of our Orthodox disunity on this continent became so evident this week. Unless you have been totally disconnected from current events, you could not help but noticing the tragic events in traditional Orthodox lands. In Egypt, we witnessed the bloody martyrdom of Coptic Christians. In Alexandria, the city of Sts. Athanasius, Cyril and many more luminaries of Orthodoxy, our sister Coptic Orthodox Christians were massacred by fanatics. In “Northern” Cyprus, Orthodox were murdered and Churches desecrated. In Lebanon, a leader of the Christian community has correctly labeled the systematic elimination of Christians in the Middle East as genocide. In Palestine, we continue to here terrible reports from Fr. and Pres. Khoury about the misery the Palestinian Christians endure each day. Even in New York, we continue to await the resolution of issue of St. Nicholas Church at ground zero. What do all these issues have in common? The small voices of divided Orthodox leaders are barley heard above background noise! Archbishop Demetrios issues a statement, Metropolitan Jonas prays for Egypt and unfortunately Constantinople must remain silent! Since our voices are not united they can barely be heard. Who cares what we say since, we have succeeded in marginalizing ourselves!
Our own disunity and divisions assure that no one pays attention to us. We are small ethnic enclaves who are quoted in our own jurisdictional press and by a few niche publications. We don’t make an impact; consequently we don’t make a difference. Critical events and essential issues present themselves and we provide little cogent Orthodox witness. We live not only in a time when national and international events occur at break neck speed, but when moral and ethical judgments need an Orthodox compass.
If we insist on staying apart, how can we begin to have a louder voice? What about a joint press office that would issue simultaneous press releases in New York and Washington, perhaps under the auspices of the Assembly of Bishops of the Orthodox Church. What about a joint commission of Orthodox Theologians who could speak to moral and ethical concerns. Little voices are whispers and are not heard. We must begin to act united and who knows it might get to be a habit!!