According to a communiqué issued yesterday, following the decision to convert Hagia Sophia in Constantinople from a museum into a mosque, the Orthodox Archdiocese of America calls on the Turkish government to respect the sacred spiritual centre.
Read the full communiqué of the Orthodox Archdiocese of America:
Today, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros convened a special session of the Holy Eparchial Synod, and with great sorrow and heartfelt anguish informed its members of the decision made by the Turkish government earlier today to convert Hagia Sophia of Constantinople into a mosque.
For Orthodox Christians around the globe, and also for the entire Christendom, Hagia Sophia, Constantinople, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate are sacred spiritual centres and comprise a repository of our Christian Faith and tradition. Therefore, we call the Turkish government to respect the pan-Orthodox and pan-Christian consciousness, which today has been deeply wounded by this decision.
We hope that this decision is not a manifestation of the deterioration in the stance of the Turkish government toward the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other religious minorities in Turkey.
The hierarchy, the clergy, the monastics, and the faithful people of our Holy Archdiocese are deeply distressed and pray fervently that peace, love, and well-being will prevail in that region and that the Turkish government annuls this decision.