In the Moscow Patriarchate explained the position of the ROC on the status of Hagia Sophia
The position of the Russian Orthodox Church over the status of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is not political and ideological, it is not a continuation of Russian policy, said Monday the Deputy Chairman of the Synodal Department of the Moscow Patriarchate on relations of the Church with society and the media Vakhtang Kipshidze.
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. In UNESCO, the number of States of the world and in the Russian Orthodox Church, unfortunately, reacted to this decision.
"Any statements of the heads of the local Orthodox churches, I think, considered in Turkey as an element of political pressure. I would like to deny it. Statements made by the Patriarch and, I think, representatives of other local Orthodox churches are not political, they are not continuation of the Russian policy or another state. This is not a political and ideological position of believers," said Kipshidze, at a press conference in MIA "Russia today".
According to him, the more clearly that message would be perceived by the Turkish side, the more ways of addressing this question (on the status of Hagia Sophia – ed) will be presented.
The Cathedral of Sveta Sofia (Hagia Sophia) was founded by the Christian Emperor Justinian and inaugurated on 27 December 537. The Cathedral is about a thousand years was the largest Christian Church in the 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.