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Theological School of Halki

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Turkish Dailies Hürriyet (April 18) and Today’s Zaman (April 27) report on the Theological School of Halki (Istanbul, Turkey), Ecumenical Patriarchate’s theology and primary seminary, closed by the Turkish authorities in 1971.  Since 1971, there have been attempts to reopen the Halki Theological Seminary. The debate over the potential opening up of the Seminary is, while not these days at the top of the public agenda, a topic which will clearly come up often in the near future.   In fact, it most recently came up during the visit to Turkey by US President Barack Obama (April 7).

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UN: Reopen Halki Seminary

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has invited Turkey to reopen the Greek Orthodox Theological School on the island of Halki, after the Turkish authorities’ decision to close the Halki seminary in 1971.  The Committee has also called on Turkey to return confiscated properties and promptly to execute all related judgements by the European Court of Human Rights. Furthermore, the Committee noted its concern over the particularly serious situation of the Greek minority and calls urgently upon Turkey to redress such discrimination as well as respect human rights. The Theological School of Halki, established in 1844, was a prestigious centre of culture and civilisation. During its years of operation the school counted many internationally renowned scholars.

Carnival Celebrations in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece’s Carnival season known as “Apokries” is a period of eating, drinking, dancing and masquerading. Traditionally, it begins ten weeks before Greek Orthodox Easter and culminates on the weekend before “Clean Monday,” (Ash Monday) the first day of Lent. This year, the carnival season lasts from February 8 until March 2. The roots of Carnival celebrations and customs can be traced back to ancient Greece and are linked to the worship of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and festivity. In fact, Carnival is closely related to the cultural heritage of each region and every year many traditional customs are being revived in different parts of the country. The Patras Carnival is the most popular in Greece, ranking among the top carnival celebrations in the world. The Carnival of Xanthi (Thrace) and Skyros include more traditional events (Skyros – Carnival) . In Corfu and Rethymno (Crete), the celebrations have absorbed a slightly Venetian flavour from the periods that the islands were under the control of Venice. In Galaxidi, Carnival events culminate on the first Monday of Lent with a parade of floats, transformed into a battlefield, as the “warriors” merciless pelt each other with ample quantities of variously coloured flour.   Agrotravel.gr – Information Gate to Greek Rural Tourism: Carnival Events Around Greece  Athens Plus (February 13): “Fokida: Come and Join the Carnival (13.02.09, p.42) 

The Bible Enters Cyberspace

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Seventeen centuries after it was written, the Codex Sinaiticus, one of the world’s oldest copies of the Bible, catches up with the digital age this week. Written in the fourth century and discovered in Egypt – at the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine’s of Mount Sinai – in the 19th, it will enter cyberpsace today, July24, courtesy of the Leipzig University library in Germany. The Codex Sinaiticus Project is an international collaboration to reunite the entire manuscript in digital form and make it accessible to a global audience for the first time. Drawing on the expertise of leading scholars, conservators and curators, the Project gives everyone the opportunity to connect directly with this famous manuscript.  Codex Sinaiticus Project: www.codex-sinaiticus.net; Telegraph.co.uk: Codex Sinaiticus, the world’s oldest Bible, goes online; Secretariat General of Information: Hellenic Culture Abroad – History, Literature & Music

Exploring Greece: Mount Athos

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    In 587 A.D., a Byzantine monk named John Moschos set off from Mount Athos in Greece, traveling around the eastern Mediterranean. William Dalrymple’s book “From the Holy Mountain” is a memorable historical journey through the twilight of Eastern Christianity, heartfelt and beautifully told. He is following in the 1,400-year-old path of Friar Moschos and a young student trekked across the Middle East, collecting precious relics and manuscripts from obscure monasteries. Dalrymple’s quest is similar; he is preserving the stories of the last generation of Orthodox Christians in the Middle East.

Greek Embassy Press Office

The Greek Embassy Press Office in Warsaw

wishes to you all a happy

 Easter holiday. We meet again

on Wednesday, April 30, 2008.