Patriarch against converting Hagia Sophia into mosque

Patriarch against converting Hagia Sophia into mosque

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios has repeated his objection to growing calls in Turkey to convert Istanbul’s ancient Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

“If Hagia Sophia were to become a place of worship once more, then it should function as a church because it was built as a church,” Vartholomaios said during a three-day meeting of Orthodox patriarchs and archbishops in Istanbul.

Built as a Christian basilica in the 6th century, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque following the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The building was converted into a museum in 1935 on the orders of the country’s secular leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Some analysts say Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, currently embroiled in a sprawling corruption scandal, is mulling the idea of turning it back into a mosque in a bid to rally conservative supporters ahead of presidential elections August.

According to sources, Erdogan plans to dampen reactions to such a move in the West by approving the re-opening of the Greek Orthodox seminary on Halki island off Istanbul.

Πηγή: ekathimerini.com

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