The Archbishop of Australia, the Bishops of Australia, the entire clergy, the monastic fraternities and the hundreds of thousands of Orthodox believers in Australia learned with deep regret and pain in their soul about the unnecessary decision of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
According to a statement from the Archdiocese of Australia, unfortunately, some decisions, which to some they seem brave, show pettiness, resentment, intolerance and religious fanaticism. Then, history will have to make its judgments. Above all, this decision is unfair for the people of Turkey and their future, while it shows disrespect to the memory of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Kemal Ataturk.
This decision is a sacrilege against a World Heritage Site, which is also a global symbol of the Orthodox Church and Christianity. Hagia Sophia belongs to the whole world.
For us Orthodox Christians, Hagia Sophia will continue to be an eternal symbol. We sing the Akathist Hymn and mentally go on pilgrimage to Hagia Sophia. We close our eyes and see the first-ever made dome in human history that protects the whole universe. No one can erase the truth and historical reality. We pray and believe that injustice will soon be restored for the sake of history and humanity.