The ROC assessed the possible change of the status of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul
The Moscow Patriarchate has called on the Turkish authorities to respect the feelings of millions of Christians and not to turn the Hagia Sophia into a mosque and reminded that Istanbul and so there is no shortage of Muslim temples.
The Supreme administrative court of Turkey, the state Council on Thursday considered the question of changing the status of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. The state Council believes that to change the status of the Cathedral is the presidential decree, reported by the Greek TV ERT. The decision will be announced within 15 days.
"Judging by the propaganda, which was conducted in Turkey, we are talking about the decision to turn the Hagia Sophia into a mosque... Why did the Turkish authorities disrespectful refers to the feelings of millions of Christians, millions of Orthodox Christians?" - said the TV channel "Russia 24" the head of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk.
He believes the optimal solution of the Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk from 1934 that, "to reconcile", I decided to turn the building into a Museum open to everyone. According to Metropolitan Hilarion, now is not the time to go back to medieval times when the Cathedral of Saint Sophia were forced to act as a mosque after the conquest of the Byzantine Empire by the Ottoman Turks.
That is, of course, he added that this is due to the political situation in Turkey and that the President of this country in this case takes the side of those calling for the transformation of the Church into a mosque, but "the act in present conditions, is an unacceptable violation of freedom of religion".
"And this, of course, not only an internal affair of Turkey, as they say, many Turkish officials, is a monument to a General, global importance, and it is with great sorrow perceive what is happening around this Christian Church", - concluded the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan said earlier that the Turkish Council of State will consider the possibility of changing the status of a Cathedral (now it has the status of a Museum). 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.
Hagia Sophia in Constantinople 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.