The Metropolitan of Belgium and Exarch of the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Athenagoras, expressed regret over the decision of Turkish President Erdogan to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
“I am very saddened by this news. The Christian world is shocked by this decision. Here in Belgium, I have heard from non-Orthodox people saying the worst things about this decision. It became a major issue. The Patriarch’s voice was also heard on Flemish radio,” said the Metropolitan of Belgium, adding: “People cannot understand the decision made by the Turkish president and his associates. Respect for every religious tradition is needed. As has been the case in Belgium, Islam is one of the official religions. They should respect the great importance of Hagia Sophia for Christians, Orthodox and even more so for Greeks.”