Erdogan signed a decree on awarding the Hagia Sophia and the status of the mosque
The President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree on awarding the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul to the status of the mosque.
Earlier, the state Council of Turkey annulled the decision of 1934 about the Museum the status of a Cathedral.
"Resolved: to transfer the management of Ayia Sofia Dianyu (management on Affairs of religion of Turkey) and open it for worship," - said in the decree of the Turkish leader.
Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is the most famous monument of Byzantine architecture, the largest Christian Church until the construction of St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome.
Aya Sofia was founded by the Christian Emperor Justinian, was opened in 537 year. Supervised its construction, the architects Isidore of Miletus and Anfimov Trollski. During the construction of the Cathedral used the marble, gold and silver, ivory, precious stones. Almost immediately Sophia of Constantinople came to be called the great. More than a thousand years the Cathedral was the largest Church in the Christian world.
After the capture of Constantinople by the Ottomans and the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, it was rebuilt into a mosque. Hagia Sophia was the main mosque of the capital of the Ottoman Empire for almost five centuries. In 1935, the founder of the modern Turkish state, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk ordered to make Hagia Sophia a Museum. At the same time the mosaics and frescoes of St. Sophia Cathedral, stripped, resurfaced.
In Istanbul a long time debate on the future of Hagia Sophia. Once again this topic is back after 29 may, the anniversary of the fall of Constantinople, this Church took place the reading of the Quran. A week later, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has instructed to explore the possibility of turning the Cathedral into a mosque. According to the foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu, the country has the right to change the status of soberanes into account the views of other States.
What is happening has caused a great resonance. Concerns were expressed to UNESCO, Greece, Russia and other organizations and States.
For example, the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill has in the past expressed deep concern voiced by a number of Turkish politicians for the change in the current status of a Cathedral.
Then he said that the change of status of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul speak in a deep sorrow in the Russian people, the persistence of neutrality will promote development of relations between Russia and Turkey. Later, the head of the Department for Church relations with society and mass-media Vladimir Legoyda expressed regret that the words of the Patriarch were not heard.
UNESCO, in its turn, also urged Turkey not to change the status of Hagia Sophia. The organization has sent Ankara a few emails expressing concern.
The Russian foreign Ministry said that Moscow hopes that the Turkish authorities in the decision on the status of Hagia Sophia will take into account the global value of this object. In the Kremlin have underlined that the decision on the status of the Cathedral is an internal affair of Ankara.