Turkey: Restoration of Historic Orphanage of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Stalled

October 20, 2021

The Prinkipo Greek Orthodox Orphanage has been returned to the Ecumenical Patriarchate by the Turkish government after a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights. But the buildings will take millions of euros to restore. The government of Turkey should show its good faith and commitment to religious freedom by providing the funding for this endeavor, especially in light of the fact that its actions led to the buildings’ state of disrepair in the first place.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Turkey, see here.

“Restoration of Historic Patriarch Orphanage Stalled,” International Christian Concern, October 19, 2021:

10/19/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – A 123-year old historic Greek orphanage faces potential ruin despite claims for preservation and restoration work to begin. The historic site, Europe’s largest and world’s second-largest timber building, is owned by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate but could cost some $47 million to repair.

The building was gifted to the Patriarchate in 1903 to be used as an orphanage. The building was later confiscated by the Turkish government in 1964 as part of the forced expulsion of Turkish citizens of Greek Orthodox identity. In 2010, the ECHR ruled that the Patriarchate owned the building, leaving the Christian community with its rightful possession but now in financial hardship over the neglected building.

“The orphanage is our common value and its fate is our responsibility,” the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I commented at a fundraising event for the building’s restoration. “That building had shown compassion to orphan children, but we have failed to return the compassion it deserves. From now on, we should see how we can show compassion to it,” said Mayor of Princes’ Islands Erdem Gul….

Some argue that the financial burden of restoration should fall to Turkey as they neglected the building after seizing it from the church….

The World’s Monuments Fund named the orphanage as one of the most endangered heritage sites in the world.