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Patriarch John X of Antioch Church regrets the decision at the Hagia Sophia

The decision of the Turkish leadership about the transformation of Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofia) in Istanbul the mosque is an attempt to get rid of the rest of the middle East the Christian presence. Antiochian Orthodox Church condemns this decision, said the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East John X in his letter to the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew.

"We heard about the sad decision of the government of Turkey about the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. We regret this decision and Express our protest, as everything that contributes to the Erasure of the history of our countries. The latest decision is aimed at undermining the role of the Christian presence in the East, if not to call it an attempt to get rid of what is left of the active role of Christianity in peaceful coexistence with other religions," says published on the website of the Church of Antioch letter to Facebook.

John X said in his letter that the decision destroys all efforts of the countries of the East to create civil States that respect religious diversity. "Unfortunately, this leads to back and to the development of extremism," he added.

The Patriarch of Antioch has expressed its solidarity and support to the Patriarch Bartholomew and urged to unite in a common prayer for the Church of St. Sophia and the long-suffering East.

"We are with you in all efforts aimed at preserving your presence on your land, the land of your ancestors in the Church of Constantinople new Rome, which binds us all brothers United by faith," added John H.

The Supreme administrative court of Turkey on 10 July annulled the decision of 1934 the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a Museum. Immediately after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he had signed a decree about the transformation of the Cathedral into a mosque and the beginning of Muslim worship there. They will begin on July 24.

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. In 1985 it was included in the world heritage list of UNESCO.

Erdogan in a telephone conversation on 13 July gave the President of Russia Vladimir Putin explanation of the decision on the status of Hagia Sophia, noting that there will be guaranteed access for everyone to this monument of culture and preservation of the Christian shrines.