After the meeting held with US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America made the following statements.
The Archbishop stated: “Today I had the opportunity to express the concerns of all Greek Americans, of course, of all Christians, concerns that came from the Turkish government recently to convert Hagia Sophia, a very historical fifteen-centuries-old cathedral into a mosque and the inauguration will be tomorrow. If the greatest and most important Christian monument of Eastern Christianity is converted into a mosque, this hurts the feeling of everybody, not only from a religious point of view, but also it raises concerns for us about the future of minorities in Turkey. Since the decision to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque is made based on the mentality and idea that this is the right of the conqueror since the Turks conquered Constantinople six hundred years ago and this gives them the right to convert any monument into a mosque, this brings a division of the understanding of the equality of the citizens in Turkey and we are very much concerned. From now if we apply this mentality of the conqueror, the citizens of Turkey will be divided into the conquered and the conquerors which you understand how dangerous is for all minorities, Christians, Jewish, and other minorities. For now, I can see no other feeling from the Turkish side other than the voice of the trophy-bearers who celebrate their decision and they are preparing their celebrations of the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. I do not think at this moment that they are ready to hear anything that we say. But after they conclude the festivities of this conversion tomorrow, they will be more ready to listen to the concerns of the rest of the world about this decision which was not wise.”