The Russian Orthodox Church official hopes that the current museum status of Hagia Sophia Cathedral will not be changed and the church will not be turned into a mosque again.
On May 29, when the fall of Constantinople is commemorated, the Quran was read in Hagia Sophia. A week after, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked the central committee of the governing Justice and Development Party to consider a possibility of turning Hagia Sophia in a mosque.
“Any attempts to change the museum status of Hagia Sophia Cathedral will lead to changing and violating fragile inter-confessional balances, existing today,” the head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion, said on Church and the World program on Rossiya-24.
He added that he would like to hope that this church would remain a museum with open access and such incidents would not provoke interreligious tensions.
The Hagia Sophia Cathedral was given a museum status in 1934 by first Turkish President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. It has been included in the UNESCO world heritage list in 1985. “This church is a symbol of Byzantium and a symbol of Orthodoxy for millions of Christians all around the world, especially for Orthodox believers,” the Metropolitan stressed.
Source: Interfax Religion