Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durres and all Albania made another resonant intervention on the issue of Hagia Sophia.
Speaking on ERT TV station, Archbishop Anastasios described Erdogan’s choice to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque as “cultural jihad” and noted that this decision “has been reminiscent of old dark eras.”
You can read the full statement of Archbishop Anastasios of Albania:
“This decision on Hagia Sophia is a kind of cultural attack, cultural jihad. In recent years, all serious people, both Christians and Muslims, have condemned all forms of holy war known as jihad. There is an Islamic sensibility so far that has respected the beauty of Hagia Sophia. However, uncritical fanaticism seeks to exploit, to steal the beauty of the most beautiful church of indivisible Christianity.
This decision is one of these dreadful decisions and actions that undermine the greatest hope and effort of our time. The peaceful coexistence of religions and cultures. This decision takes us back to dark eras while question and indignation that a country like Turkey, which wants to be at the forefront, assumes the role of the cultural rearguard that arrived too late.
I have repeatedly been given the opportunity and I emphasize that adding the ‘fuel’ of religion to the fire in order to serve nationalist purposes is a sin and a mistake The noble purpose of religion is to soothe wounds and pacify the souls of human beings. To promote culture and not to retrogress.”