In his statement today for the Hagia Sophia, Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus said that the Turks “remained uncivilized, coarse, they will remain as such.” He said that “what dismays us the most are the great powers, namely the Europeans, who see their rigid economic interests and nothing else.”
“We can learn a lot from it. We must stand on our own two feet. Let’s not wait any longer. There are no allies, no brothers, no supporters, and this must teach us to work and stand on our own two feet, on our own capabilities, to support our own homeland, no matter how weak we are. If we are united, we can overcome all difficulties, having God as our helper and supporter,” said the Archbishop of Cyprus after the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, according to an announcement by the Archdiocese.
He added that “we are saddened (by the decision of the Turkish government) but Hagia Sophia will not lose its value, it has been at the center of all Christianity for ten centuries and it has been at the center of Orthodoxy and Christianity, in general, from the 5th to the 15th century while Ecumenical Councils and local Synods were held there and was an eloquent proof of the Byzantine glory.”
As Archbishop Chrysostomos said, Hagia Sophia “went down in history and no power can understate its value and what Turkey achieves is its own degradation, because it has not learned to respect history and culture; because it did not produce culture and does not respect culture.”
He added that “Turkey has learned to destroy, to appropriate the cultures of others and sometimes, when it is beneficial to do so, destroys them and falsely presents cultures as if it were part of its history.”
“We know Turkey very well and we have witnessed the destruction of our own monuments for half a century and we have been begging through the United Nations for half a century to allow us to preserve our religious monuments and they refuse to do so, although they can maintain their monuments in the free areas,” said the Archbishop of Cyprus.
Finally, he pointed out that “our monuments that were seized when they occupied the whole island of Cyprus in the past, and our churches that have murals were turned into mosques. Although, after the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, we needed to offer churches because of the refugees and we did not have them, however, we did not use them again as churches, although we could, but we left them as ancient monuments. And the Turks did not respect that.”