Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said he was shocked by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s recent statements about converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Speaking to Washington Post, the Primate of Orthodoxy stressed, “What can I say as a Christian clergyman and a Greek patriarch in Constantinople? Instead of uniting, a 1,500-year-old heritage separates us. I’m sad and shocked.”
“We have survived for 17 centuries and if it is God’s will we will stay here forever,” the Ecumenical Patriarch added, answering a reporter’s question about how much longer could the church of Hagia Sophia, empty and neglected, stand when only few Greeks live in Constantinople now.
The Washington Post reports on President Erdogan’s provocative rhetoric and refers to a toxic language in the discussion on Hagia Sophia, which, as it is mentioned, underscores centuries of religious rivalry.