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Orthodox, Catholic Archbishops ‘lament’ Turkish decision on Hagia Sophia

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Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, said on Wednesday they “lament and decry” the decision of the Turkish government to change the status of Hagia Sophia and re-convert it into a mosque.

“The creation of the modern State of Turkey is synonymous with a secular ideal of inclusivity. By changing the status of Hagia Sophia from a mosque to a museum, President Ataturk manifested this global monument to be a sign of transition from a theocratic empire, to a secular state that valued the equality of all its citizens,” the two Christian leaders said in a joint statement.

“We…call for a reversal of the current policy of the Turkish government to change the status of Hagia Sophia,” they added, noting that the UNESCO World Heritage monument should remain “a symbol of encounter, history, spiritual aspiration, and human achievement of the highest order.”