Metropolitan Hilarion criticized the decision of Turkey's Hagia Sophia
The decision of the Turkish authorities on the conversion of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul from a Museum into a mosque was a blow to the world Orthodoxy, head of the Department for external Church relations (DECR) of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk.
"It's a blow to the entire world to Orthodoxy, because for all Orthodox Christians throughout the world, the Hagia Sophia is such a symbol, like the Catholic St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome, so it is with great regret that decision," said Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) in the broadcast channel "Russia 1".
Earlier it was reported that the state Council, Turkey's highest administrative court - July 10, annulled the decision of 1934 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.
The Hagia Sophia was founded by the Christian Emperor Justinian, and was opened on 27 December 537. Cathedral over 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 in 1453, 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.
The decision to turn the Hagia Sofia mosque caused a sharp reaction in many countries of the world.