Move to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque is ‘unacceptable’: Russian Orthodox prelate
MOSCOW (RUSSIA) – A senior official of the Russian Orthodox Church on Saturday said the move to convert Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque was “unacceptable”.
One of the most popular monuments in the country and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the sixth century Hagia Sophia is at the heart of both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. But Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has come out with a proposal to restore its mosque status.
According to the Interfax news agency, Metropolitan Hilarion, who is the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, said on state television: “We can’t go back to the Middle Ages now.”
“We live in a multipolar world, we live in a multi-confessional world and we need to respect the feelings of believers.”
The metropolitan blamed domestic politics behind the move to convert the museum into a mosque.
“We believe that in the current conditions this act is an unacceptable violation of religious freedom,” he was quoted as saying.
Earlier this week, a court in Turkey heard a case regarding converting the monument into a mosque. The verdict is slated to be announced later this month.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field