Just one day after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visited the historic School of Halki, U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback sent the message that the United States will continue to support the reopening of the Halki seminary.
Responding to a relevant question by the ANA-MPA, Mr. Brownback noted that the US has been supporting the re-opening of the School over time. “We have been doing this for quite some time. I can not tell you that progress has been made in achieving this goal. But we argue that the school must be open and that we will continue to support this position,” he said.
The US ambassador also said that he had the opportunity to meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, during his first trip abroad in his capacity as ambassador in Turkey in order to follow the trial of the evangelical pastor, Andrew Brunson, whose detention had worsened the US-Turkish relations.
He expressed his satisfaction for the stance of the Ecumenical Patriarch on the issue of the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The US ambassador said that the self-administration of religious communities is a position of principle for the United States.
Finally, he acknowledged that this issue has led to some sort of pressure and assured that Washington will continue to provide its support in every possible way.