The Church of Greece has urged Turkey to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque
Greek Orthodox Church urges the government of Turkey to "exercise prudence" and not to turn the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque, noting that this can cause frustration and protests of Christians.
Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan said earlier that the Turkish Council of State will consider the possibility to change the status of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. According to the foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu said that his country was entitled to change the status of the Cathedral, turning it into a mosque, without taking into account the views of other States.
In the message the press service of the Synod of the Greek Church, received by RIA Novosti, stated that, according to media reports, the Turkish government intends to change the current Museum status of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, to become a Muslim mosque. EPTS recalled that Aya Sofia was founded by the Christian Emperor Justinian, and was opened on 27 December 537 ad.
"It was conceived as a place of worship of the Church dedicated to the wisdom of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. This masterpiece of architectural genius and world-famous outstanding monument of Christian culture", - stated in the message.
According to EDS, the value of the Hagia Sophia remains universal.
"We believe that the rejection of civilization, a neutral use of the monument as a Museum, which was established the Turkish Republic in 1934, trying to make the cultural space in the trophy and a symbol of conquest", - stated in the message
"Any change will cause a lot of protest and disappointment among the Christians... at the same time will harm Turkey itself. Church this Church was organized many of the Cathedrals of great importance for Christian life and faith. In the end, even surviving the unspeakable beauty of the mosaic image of the Holy people of the Christian faith continually proclaim their silence historical and spiritual relationship of the Church with Christianity" - said the Synod EPTS.
"It is imperative that the government of the neighboring country has shown prudence and respect for the nature of the monument in order to make the right decision to preserve the status quo of the Hagia Sophia as a Museum", - stated in the message.
Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (now Istanbul) more than a thousand years was the largest Church in the Christian world. After the capture of Constantinople by the Ottomans and the fall of the Byzantine Empire, the Cathedral was converted into a mosque but since 1934 the building by decree of the founder of the modern Turkish state Kemal Ataturk became a Museum and was included in the world heritage list of UNESCO.