Patriarch Seeks Sponsor to Restore Istanbul Building, Aksam Says

By Benjamin Harve

The Istanbul-based patriarch of the Greek Orthodox church is seeking a sponsor to fund restoration of an abandoned orphanage after Greece’s economic crisis precluded support from the Greek government, Aksam reported.

The 19th-century building on the island of Buyukada outside Istanbul is one of the largest wooden buildings in the world and the patriarchate has been planning to convert it into a religious studies and interfaith dialogue center, according to the newspaper. The cost would be about $50 million, it said.

The patriarchate won the deed to the building in a case against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights that concluded in 2010, Aksam said.

The economic crisis in Greece has precluded support from the country’s government and officials from the patriarchate confirmed to Aksam that they were in search of sponsors, the newspaper said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Benjamin Harvey in Istanbul at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at