Holy Synod decries Turkish government plans for Hagia Sophia


The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece on Friday issued a statement responding to reports that the Turkish government is pondering the transformation of the Hagia Sophia UNESO World Heritage site in Istanbul from a museum into a mosque.

“It is a masterpiece of architectural genius and is world renowned as one of the preeminent monuments of the Christian civilization,” the Holy Synod said of the 6th century Greek Orthodox patriarchal cathedral.

Any decision to turn the site – which was made a museum in 1934 – into a mosque is an “attempt at transforming a cultural space into a trophy and symbol of conquest,” it added.

“Any change [to its status] would provoke strong protestations and frustration among Christians across the world, while it will also harm Turkey in a variety of ways,” the Holy Synod said.