Theological School of Halki
The Theological School of Halki (also Chalki) was, until its closure by the Turkish authorities in 1971, the main school of theology and primary seminary of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. It was based on Halki, one of the Princes' Islands in the Sea of Marmara.
The seminary was housed on the site of the ruined Monastery of the Holy Trinity, which was founded by Photius I, Patriarch of Constantinople (r. 858–861 and 878–886). In 1844, Patriarch Germanos IV converted the ruined monastery into a school of theology, which was inaugurated on September 23, 1844. All the buildings except for the chapel were destroyed by an earthquake in June 1894, but were rebuilt by architect Periklis Fotiadis and inaugurated in October 1896. Major renovation took place in the 1950s.
Numerous Orthodox scholars, theologians, priests, bishops, and patriarchs graduated from Halki, including Patriarch Bartholomew I and his immediate predecessors, Patriarchs Demetrius, Athenagoras, and Maximus V. Many patriarchs, bishops, and former teachers of the school are buried on the grounds.
The theological facilities include the Chapel of the Holy Trinity, sports and recreational institutions, dormitories, an infirmary, a hospice, offices, and the school's library with its historic collection of books, journals, and manuscripts. The students at Halki included not only a large number of native born Greeks, but Orthodox Christians from around the world, giving the school an international character.
In 1971, the seminary was closed by a Turkish law that forbids private universities from functioning. In 1998, Halki's board of trustees were ordered to disband until international criticism of Ankara's decision persuaded the Turkish authorities to reverse their order.
Halki has received international attention in recent years. President Bill Clinton visited Halki on his visit to Turkey in 1999 and urged Turkish President Suleyman Demirel to allow the reopening of the school. In October 1998, both houses of the United States Congress passed resolutions that supported the reopening of Halki. The European Union has also raised the issue as part of its negotiations over Turkish accession to the EU.
The Patriarchate has hoped that promises from the Turkish government to allow the seminary to reopen would be enacted.