In a joint statement, the presidents of Churches Together in England are saddened at the decision by the Turkish government to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
“Presidents of Churches Together in England, representing the full breadth of Christian traditions in England, are saddened at the decision of the Turkish Government to change the status of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.
For a long period of time, Hagia Sophia has been a unique centre symbolising a co-existence of people of faith. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, as a place where the rich history of Constantinople is told visually, can be a living example of religious tolerance and respect. The decision to alter the status quo in this way is a powerful, symbolic change that is lamentable and painful for many people of faith the world over.”
The statement was made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, the Free Churches Moderator, Dr. Hugh Osgood, the Archbishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London, Archbishop Angaelos of London, who is the CTE president for the Orthodox Churches, and the head of Redeemed Christian Church of God UK and CTE Pentecostal President, Pastor Agu Irukwu.