The Archdiocese of America has declared a day of mourning on Friday, July 24, the first day of Muslim prayers at the Byzantine cathedral and UNESCO World Heritage site of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul following its recent reconversion into a mosque.
“Knowing that on Friday, July 24th, there will be an ‘inauguration’ of this program of cultural and spiritual misappropriation and a violation of all standards of religious harmony and mutual respect, we call upon all the beloved faithful of our Holy Archdiocese to observe this day as a day of mourning and of manifest grief,” the Holy Synod of the Church of America said in announcement on Thursday, following a meeting under Archbishop Elpidophoros.
“We ask that every Church toll its bells in lamentation on this day. We call for every flag of every kind that is raised on the Church property be lowered to half-mast on this day. And we enjoin every Church in our Holy Archdiocese to chant the Akathist Hymn in the evening of this day, just as we chant it on the Fifth Friday of the Great and Holy Fast,” it added.