by Kostas Onisenko
The danger of covering the mosaics and the frescoes of the Chora Church with plaster or even worse the danger of them being broken with hammers after its conversion into a mosque, pointed out in an interview the head of the synodal department of foreign relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk.
Responding to a reporter’s question about Erdogan’s breach of all believers’ free access to Hagia Sophia, the Metropolitan said that the Russian Church is expressing its concern globally “about that Christian heritage that is now being attacked.”
He highlighted that the mosaics and frescoes of the Chora Church not only will not be accessible to everyone but are also in danger of destruction. “Talking about the Chora Church, it is another unique monument of Byzantine heritage, it is a Christian monastery in which mosaics and frescoes of the 13th and 14th centuries have been preserved.”
“If in the church of Hagia Sophia the preserved mosaics take up relatively little space, then the mosaics of the Chora Church have been preserved much better and the transformation of this temple into a mosque will of course mean that all its walls and all these unique samples of Byzantine art will be completely hidden from the eyes of the world. Either they will cover them with curtains, or they will cover them with plaster or they will break them with hammers, as was done repeatedly in the past,” said Hilarion.