Metropolitan Hilarion: Saint Sophia once again a mosque in the Ottoman era

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday posted on Twitter a photo signed by him of the decree. "Resolved: to transfer the management of Ayia Sofia Dianyu (management on Affairs of religion of Turkey – ed.) and open it for worship," reads a historical document. What does this turn in destiny of a monument of UNESCO, which in recent decades was the Museum than it is to explain whether there is still a compromise and how to change the status of Hagia Sophia will affect Russian-Turkish relations and the pilgrimage, said in an interview with RIA Novosti Chairman of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk. Interviewed By Olga Lipic.

- The state Council of Turkey overturned the decision of the Turkish government from 1934 to the status of Hagia Sophia Museum. On this basis, the President of Turkey gave the building to the jurisdiction of the Department of religious Affairs of Turkey to the organization of worship. Hagia Sofia once again became a mosque in Ottoman era.

The decision is due to the internal political realities of the country – primarily the demands of the most radical part of Muslims. Apparently, the current leadership of Turkey is now more important than global public opinion, the position of the local Orthodox Churches, or, say, the negative reaction of UNESCO.

Examples of such trade-offs is not known to me. And I don't think they were possible or appropriate in this situation.

Will definitely complicate them.

I do not want to give harsh criticism, but such a solution looks as a conscious aggravation of interreligious relations in Turkey and around the world. Responsible for this is not appointed I will appoint their story.