Robert Moynihan has been on the journey to Turkey, and has posted several pieces at Inside the Vatican.
As we take the boat back towards the great city, the sun sets, blazing red into the sea, and the lights of the city twinkle on against a blackening sky. I think of the story the Venerable Bede tells at the beginning of his Ecclesiatical History of the English People. He was left in a monastery in England after his parents died in a plague. One by one, the monks also died. Finally, he was alone, a small boy of seven, responding to the verses of the Psalms sung by the abbot, who was the only monk still living. And later, Bede wrote the history of the coming of the faith to England, our sole source for those 200 years of Church history. The monastery of Halki, the glory of the Orthodox world, has been reduced almost to that state. At Christmas, there will remain only three monks: the abbot Apostolos, the deacon Theodore, and the layman Elia, who has come here because he senses a calling.