Metropolitan Hilarion commented on the decision in Hagia Sophia
The transformation of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque looks like deliberate worsening of relations both in Turkey and in the world, said in an interview with RIA Novosti head of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk.
The question of how the decision of the state Council and Turkey signed on Friday the decree of President Tayyip Erdogan about the cancellation of the Museum status of Hagia Sophia and opening it for worship of Muslims will affect Russian-Turkish relations, pilgrimage and tourism, he said, "Certainly, will complicate them."
Explaining the importance of the event, the head of the Department for external Church relations noted that "the Turkish state Council overturned the decision of the Turkish government from 1934 to the status of Hagia Sophia Museum and on this basis, the President of Turkey gave the building to the jurisdiction of the Department of religious Affairs of Turkey for the organisation of services." "St. Sofia once again became a mosque in the Ottoman era," stressed Metropolitan Hilarion.
He noted that unknown to him the examples of separation of the building for simultaneous use by Muslims on Fridays and Christians on Sundays. "Examples of such compromises are not known to me, and I don't think they were possible or appropriate in this situation", - concluded the Metropolitan.
The state Council of Turkey on Friday canceled a decision dated 1934, about the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a Museum. Immediately after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he had signed a decree about the transformation of the Cathedral into a mosque and the beginning of Muslim worship there.