The two Deans after the reorganisation of the School

On October 8, 1951, the new period of the function of the School, - with its educational structure and academic status having been reorganized - the 4th in order in the centuries-long history, was inaugurated in the ceremonial hall by the commencement of lessons and the usual service of Sanctification, in the presence of H.A.H. Ecumenical Patriarch and the professors9. It is noted here that the date of the inauguration of this new period coincided with the date of the commencement of lessons in the newly-founded Theological School, at the Holy Trinity Monastery, 107 years ago, namely on October 8, 1844.

In his address at the commencement ceremony, the new Dean characterized the inaugurated 4th period of the School as “brilliant, bright and hopeful for our Theological School” and pointed out that the hopes of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the School were realized through the School, by way of its reinstatement to the stature and form which it always held, for the more effective realization of its esteemed purpose and sacred task, and in accordance with the needs and demands of the times:

«If the commencement ceremony at the School has always been a reason to offer doxology to the name of the Most Benevolent God, … more so this year’s sacred ceremony should constitute an exceptional reason to offer doxology to the One in the highest, Who granted the Theological School this day on which noble intentions and desires become a reality and efforts of the Ecumenical Patriarchate aimed at the benefit of the School, counting many years, are realised.

Our School indeed, by way of the new organization, recently ratified at the kindness of our respected Government, acquires also the external glory befitting is and is reinstated governmentally to a course securing all the necessary conditions for its seamless and more successful function.

Since the School has already secured the recognition of the Law and received its new Regulation, it can assuredly look forward to great objectives, which the Ecumenical Patriarchate had in its mind for over one hundred years and which with much success to this day it has met and continues to meet10.

Referring then to his appointment by the Church to assume the directorship of the Deanery, he stated that though he felt his deficiency in necessary abilities for the assumption of such a responsible position, he was ready to undergo any sacrifice for the successful accomplishment of the sacred goals of the School:

Allow me in today’s modest ceremony, at which I practically accept the most honorary appointment to assume the directorship of the School, by which the Ecumenical Patriarchate entrusts the governorship of this valuable legacy… to express my personal thanks and feelings of deep gratitude to Your All Holiness and the Holy Hierarchs around you who comprise the Holy Synod and the Board of the School on the great confidence that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is showing towards me. I am fully aware of the depth of the responsibility inherent to the task assigned to me for serving this sacred purpose, and confess that do not possess the necessary qualities. I’m convinced though that the Omnipotent God will strengthen me in what I’m deficient and will be granted the affectionate care of Your All Holiness and the Holy Synod and I will also benefit from the cooperation of the Professors and the affection and love of all the students. It’s on this basis that I accept this sacred duty.

In this solemn moment I give the assurance that I will not spare myself any work in order to realize the hopes of the Church that depend on me; I will not avoid any sacrifices in order to complete this sacred duty to the School, namely the spiritual education of clergymen worthy of their calling, instilled by the spirit of Christ, inspired by higher ideology, willing to sacrifice everything to serve their fellow man… This sacred purpose, this noble ideology shall from this day forward will absorb my entire thinking and activity»11.

The new Dean, Metropolitan Iakovos of Iconium, kept with strict adherence to his solemn and public promise to the Ecumenical Patriarchate made at the official assumption of the Deanery. Indeed he sacrificed himself for the realization of the responsible duty and the mission of the School, thereby fully and undoubtedly shown himself as deserving the confidence of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

The positive establishment of the new academic status of the School by way of the implementation of the new Regulation and its gradual completion within four years (1951-1955) counts as an achievement of Metropolitan Iakovos of Iconium, the first Dean of the fourth period of the School, whose term with the brilliant results this yielded for the benefit of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Orthodoxy in general, marks a milestone in the later history of the Theological School12.

This period does not cease to be called into the memory of those who experienced it and serve in our time the Ecumenical Patriarchate or offer their services to education and other sciences throughout the world, with feelings of respect, deep gratitude and great love for the Dean13. Despite the excessive strictness that characterized him and the reaction and resentment he caused during their studies and communal life at the School14, Metropolitan Iakovos of Iconium remained and will remain in their memory as the very strict and uncompromising Dean but also the exemplary abbot of the communal life at the School and the good spiritual father.

Very knowledgeable about the new Regulation of the School, he was fully familiar of its substance and details, from his participation in its approval process by the Higher Educational Council of the Ministry of Education, and its approval and ratification by the decision of the Turkish Government. He knew the Turkish language fluently, in which he was able to write and type all the official documents and conduct the relevant correspondence on the function of the School with the Ministry of Education throughout his term as Dean. He managed, due to his unparalleled sense and dedication to duty, which characterized him, and the surprising and exemplary industriousness, to face and resolve almost all unforeseen difficulties that arose in the course of the implementation of the new Regulation and the internal administration of the School. He also succeeded fully in the smooth transition from the old functional system of the School to the new.

All of the above, though, after the passing of four years since the assumption of his responsibilities as Dean, took a toll on his health, and thus, upon the termination of the transitional period of the reorganization of the School functioning under the new Regulation and the graduation of the first graduates, under the expanded curriculum, he deemed his departure from his position necessary.

On July 15, 1955, Iakovos of Iconium submitted his resignation to the Holy Synod due to health problems, despite the objections of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, the Hierarchy and the Board of the School15.

Rev. Archimandrite Maximos Repanellis, later on Metropolitan of Stavroupolis (1961-1991), Professor of Philosophy and Ethics at the School succeeded Metropolitan of Iconium (1955-1971). He was a clergyman deeply devoted to the ministry of the Church, distinguished for his moral character and great love for the School for the benefit of which he sacrificed himself. He envisioned and programmed his Dean’s agenda with the dream to lead the School to further upgrade and development of the theological and spiritual education of the students, within the framework provided for by the new Regulation of the School and the thus far manifested favourable disposition of the Turkish government regarding its function.

Ἡ Νέα περίοδος τῆς Ἱερᾶς Θεολογικῆς Σχολῆς, Ὀρθοδοξία, τομ. 26, 1951, pg. 384-402.
Ibidem pg. 390, 391.
Ibidem, pg. 391, 392.
«For four years he worked tirelessly for the School, toiling day and night for the spiritual and otherwise uplifting thereof, becoming impeccable and beyond reproach to all who studied theology.
During the deanery of Metropolitan Iakovos of Iconium, the School was governed by an experienced administrator and entered a new course of progress and spiritual growth, the benefits of which the Ecumenical Patriarchate has begun to taste since a long time already.».
Memorial speech, delivered in the Holiest Patriarchal Church by the then Undersecretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod Pavlos, now Metropolitan of Sweden, on the occasion of the 40-day Memorial Service of the late Metropolitan Iakovos of Iconium, on May 30, 1965, page 6, From the Archives of Metropolitan Pavlos of Sweden.
Iakovos of Iconium was a saint of our time, of our world and of our way … in his few earthly years now matter how many people got to know him, they felt strongly that he embodied quietly the incorporate world.
...He entered the Chapel last – after all of us students paraded in from of him for a quick inspection – he would move to his place beside the throne, cross his hands, cross his hands, place them quietly on the brace of the seat, and from this position he would not move, almost as if here a “Petrified King".
With the stature of an archangel, he shone in our young impressionable eyes like a vigilant captain on the bridge. And he truly was the captain of the spiritual ship which young men, conscripted from the whole Christian world, to the fulfillment of the dream and programme of the Church in order to make them “fishers of people”! Archbishop Stylianos of Australia, Memory of Metropolitan Iakovos of Iconium, Ἐπετηρίς Ἑστίας Θεολόγων Χάλκης, Ἀθῆναι 1980, σελ. 187, 140.
"Iakovos of Iconium remains always in the conscience of the students of the School as the austere, serious and motionless standing Dean on the parathronio of the Chapel of the School … exemplary figure of ethos and virtue in our materialistic century, animate icon and gift of virtue, a living example to us his students, whom he reared within his personal incandescent furnace of piety and goodness, of faith and hope… His austere face, his dedication to duty, his strictness in the administration, his free spirit, the integrity of his ethos and character … cannot be extinguished by the oblivion of time, from the souls and hearts of the students…” Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Peristeri (Gerasimos S. Zafiris), Ἡ Θεολογική Σχολή τῆς Χάλκης (Ἀναμνήσεις –Βιώματα -Ὁραματισμοί) Ἀθῆναι 1986, σελ. 186, 190.
Regarding his strictness he writes, in a complaining manner to his then schoolmate and close friend in School, Rev. Archimandrite Parthenios Koinidis, then Chief Secretary of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, and now Patriarch, and states the following: “He sent me a letter on February 7, 1955. He was then Dean of our School, where we studied together. I would like to note that during his struggle as Dean and his life among the students, he met with hardship. They thought of him as very strict. He sensed that and wrote about it. He judged himself, confessed and was hurt but did not cease to fight. Every word of his carried a lot of meaning and humbly he judged and noted circumstances. He confessed also that he lived inside of these circumstances” Metropolitan Parthenios of Carthage, Σχέσεις Πατριαρχείων Κωνσταντινουπόλεως καί Ἀλεξανδρείας, Μνήμη Μητροπολίτου Ἰκονίου Ἰακώβου, Ἀθῆναι 1984, σελ. 363.
“And if at times his absolute and strict sense of order and discipline displeased us, all the graduates afterwards, when out in life, justified fully his strict and responsible stance and behavior and always admire in his holy memory his great personality, great heart, the holiness of his face, the holiness of his life.” Metropolitan Nikodimos of Ierissos, Mount Athos and Ardameriou, Μνήμη Σχολάρχου Ἰκονίου ἰακώβου, εἰς Μνήμη Μητροπολίτου Ἰκονίου Ἰακώβου, Ἀθῆναι 1984, σελ. 40.
These objections appear on the written communiqué of the School Board regarding the resignation: “The Board, keeping in mind that His Eminence with his excellent talents and capabilities contributed so much to the cause of the full reinstatement of the School to her old status and value, asked Metropolitan of Iconium to possibly continue for one more year at the helm of the School, because his service was proven fruitful for the reorganization and promotion of the School. His Eminence insisted, and the Board accepted with sadness the resignation, and expressed warm sentiments to him for his conscientious and fertile services to the School during the four years of his term as Dean.” Ἡ Σχολαρχία τῆς Ἱ. Θεολογικῆς Σχολῆς Χάλκης, Παραίτησις τοῦ Μητροπολίτου Ἰκονίου ἀπό τῆς Σχολαρχίας, Ὀρθοδοξία, τόμ. 30, 1955, σελ. 313.