Text: H.Res.188 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)

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Introduced in House (04/26/2013)


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[Congressional Bills 113th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H. Res. 188 Introduced in House (IH)]

113th CONGRESS
  1st Session
H. RES. 188

 Calling upon the Government of Turkey to facilitate the reopening of 
   the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Theological School of Halki without 
                      condition or further delay.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             April 26, 2013

 Mr. Bilirakis (for himself, Mrs. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, Ms. 
 Ros-Lehtinen, Mr. McGovern, Mr. Franks of Arizona, Mr. Sarbanes, Mr. 
 Kelly of Pennsylvania, Ms. Titus, Mr. Grimm, Mr. Schiff, Mr. Pallone, 
  Ms. Linda T. Sanchez of California, and Mr. Michaud) submitted the 
 following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign 
                                Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                               RESOLUTION


 
 Calling upon the Government of Turkey to facilitate the reopening of 
   the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Theological School of Halki without 
                      condition or further delay.

Whereas the Ecumenical Patriarchate is an institution with a history spanning 17 
        centuries, serving as the center of the Orthodox Christian Church 
        throughout the world;
Whereas Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is the spiritual leader of nearly 
        300,000,000 Orthodox Christians around the world and millions of 
        Orthodox Christians in the United States;
Whereas the Ecumenical Patriarchate is the spiritual home of the world's oldest 
        and second largest Christian church located in Istanbul, Turkey;
Whereas within the 2,000-year-old Sacred See of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the 
        New Testament was codified and the Nicene Creed was created;
Whereas the Ecumenical Patriarchate sits at the crossroads of East and West, 
        offering a unique perspective on the religions and cultures of the 
        world;
Whereas the disappearance of the See would mean the end of a crucial link 
        between the Christian and the Muslim world since the continuing presence 
        of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey is a living testimony of 
        religious co-existence since 1453;
Whereas the title of Ecumenical Patriarch was formally accorded to the 
        Archbishop of Constantinople by a synod convened in Constantinople 
        during the 6th century;
Whereas since November 1991, His All Holiness, Bartholomew I, has served as 
        Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch;
Whereas Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I was awarded the Congressional Gold 
        Medal in 1997, in recognition of his outstanding and enduring 
        contributions toward religious understanding and peace;
Whereas during the 110th Congress, 75 Senators and the overwhelming majority of 
        members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of 
        Representatives wrote to President George W. Bush and the Prime Minister 
        of Turkey to express congressional concern, which continues today, 
        regarding the absence of religious freedom for Ecumenical Patriarch 
        Bartholomew I in the areas of church-controlled Patriarchal succession, 
        the confiscation of the vast majority of Patriarchal properties, 
        recognition of the international Ecumenicity of the Patriarchate, and 
        the reopening of the Theological School of Halki;
Whereas the Theological School of Halki, founded in 1844 and located outside 
        Istanbul, Turkey, served as the principal seminary for the Ecumenical 
        Patriarchate until its forcible closure by the Turkish authorities in 
        1971;
Whereas the alumni of this preeminent educational institution include numerous 
        prominent Orthodox scholars, theologians, priests, bishops, and 
        patriarchs, including Bartholomew I;
Whereas the Republic of Turkey has been a participating state of the 
        Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) since signing 
        the Helsinki Final Act in 1975;
Whereas in 1989, OSCE participating states adopted the Vienna Concluding 
        Document, committing to respect the right of religious communities to 
        provide ``training of religious personnel in appropriate institutions'';
Whereas the continued closure of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Theological 
        School of Halki has been an ongoing issue of concern for the United 
        States people and the United States Congress and has been repeatedly 
        raised by members of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in 
        Europe and by United States delegations to the OSCE's annual Human 
        Dimension Implementation Meeting;
Whereas in his address to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on April 6, 
        2009, President Barack Obama said, ``Freedom of religion and expression 
        lead to a strong and vibrant civil society that only strengthens the 
        state, which is why steps like reopening Halki Seminary will send such 
        an important signal inside Turkey and beyond.'';
Whereas in a welcomed development, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip 
        Erdogan, met with the Ecumenical Patriarch on August 15, 2009, and, in 
        an address to a wider gathering of minority religious leaders that day, 
        concluded by stating, ``We should not be of those who gather, talk, and 
        disperse. A result should come out of this.'';
Whereas during his visit to the United States in November 2009, Ecumenical 
        Patriarch Bartholomew I raised the issue of the continued closure of the 
        Theological School of Halki with President Obama, congressional leaders, 
        and others;
Whereas in a welcome development, for the first time since 1922, the Government 
        of Turkey in August 2010 allowed the liturgical celebration by the 
        Ecumenical Patriarch at the historic Sumela Monastery;
Whereas following a unanimous decision by the European Court of Human Rights in 
        Strasbourg in 2010, ruling that Turkey return the former Greek Orphanage 
        on Buyukada Island to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, on the eve of the 
        feast day of St. Andrew observed on November 30, the Government of 
        Turkey provided lawyers representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate with 
        the formal property title for the confiscated building;
Whereas in March 2012, after bilateral meetings between the United States and 
        Turkey in Seoul, Korea, President Barack Obama praised Prime Minister 
        Erdogan's efforts to protect religious minorities and announced, ``I am 
        pleased to hear of his decision to reopen the Halki Seminary.'';
Whereas Turkey's Council of Foundations returned 190 hectares of forestland to 
        the Theological School of Halki in January 2013; and
Whereas Secretary of State John F. Kerry met with Turkish officials and the 
        Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I during an April 2013 meeting and 
        reiterated the United States position that the Halki Seminary should be 
        reopened without further delay or conditions: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
            (1) welcomes past and future meetings between Prime 
        Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ecumenical Patriarch 
        Bartholomew I;
            (2) welcomes the positive gestures by the Government of 
        Turkey, including allowing the liturgical celebration by the 
        Ecumenical Patriarch at the historic Sumela Monastery and the 
        return of the former Greek Orphanage on Buyukada Island to the 
        Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the return of the 190 hectares of 
        forestland to the Greek Orthodox foundation listed as owner-of-
        record of the Theological School of Halki;
            (3) urges the Government of Turkey to facilitate the 
        reopening of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Theological School 
        of Halki without condition or further delay; and
            (4) urges the Government of Turkey to address other 
        longstanding concerns relating to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
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