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Diocesan Pilgrimage to Constantinople Day 2

(November 27, 2006 - Halki School of Theology - By Fr. Nectarios Trevino) Today's trip to Halki School of Theology was my second journey to the island. Our departure preceded that of the Archons for two reasons: first, we wanted the time to see the school grounds its olive trees, gardens, greenhouse, etc.; and, secondly and perhaps most importantly, we wanted to precede everyone and ensure we had a leisurely ride in the horse-drawn buggy up the mountain to the school. No, there are no vehicles allowed on the road to the school. Either one walks up the mountain or rides in the buggy. At the school chapel the Holy Trinity Monastery chapel we were greeted by His Eminence Metropolitan Apostolos of Moschonision, the monastery abbot and director of the Halki School of Theology.The chapel is beautiful and was crowded given the number of pilgrims present for the journey. The monastery was founded in 1869 and is, in many ways, the flagship monastery of the Patriarchate. It is also emblematic of religious freedom and the present battle for such in Turkey. The school itself was founded in 1844 and served to educate Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and members of the Oriental Orthodox churches. After the welcome ceremony we moved to the main conference room of the school and there we were greeted again and formally by: His Eminence, Metropolitan Apostolos; Mr. Anthony Limberakis, Archon Aktouarios, National Commander; and the Honorable Deborah K. Jones, U.S. Consul General to Istanbul. Next we received a presentation by Dr. George Demacopoulos, Department of Theology, Fordham University. The subject of his talk was entitled: The Orthodox View on Papal Authority. Before going into the content of his presentation, it is important to note that Professor Demacopoulas was instrumental in performing the research that led to the return of the relics of St. George the Theologian and St. John Chrysostom to the Ecumenical Patriarchate from Rome. The professor, in his presentation stated that the Orthodox understanding of Papal Authority and sovereignty has not changed since the 5th century. On the contrary, the Roman view of itself has changed. As a result, Papal perspectives of its sovereignty is the biggest challenge undermining the mechanics of ecumenism between the two churches.
Another View of the Hagia Sophia
Holy Trinity Monastery Chapel On the Island of Halki.