Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios has warned that if Turkey persists with plans to reconvert Hagia Sophia into a mosque, it risks turning Christians against Muslims.
According to the Orthodoxia news agency, the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church was speaking to a congregation at a church in Istanbul on Tuesday morning when he expressed his concern at apparent plans by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to turn the UNESCO World Heritage site, one of the most important monuments of the Orthodox world, into a mosque.
“The potential conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque will turn millions of Christians around the world against Islam,” Vartholomaios warned.
“We hope that wisdom and reason ultimately prevail,” he added.
Vartholomaios also called on the people of Turkey to champion the monument’s universal character, underlining that as a museum, Hagia Sophia brings together people and cultures from all over the world.