Pa­tri­arch ‘shaken’ over mosque con­ver­sion plan

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The Is­tan­bul-based Ec­u­meni­cal Pa­tri­arch of Con­stantino­ple Vartholo­maios has ex­pressed grief over plans by Turkey to con­vert the 6th-cen­tury for­mer Ortho­dox Chris­tian cathe­dral of Hagia Sophia into a mosque in com­ments he made to Turk­ish colum­nist Asli Ay­d­in­tas­bas for the Wash­ing­ton Post. “What can I say as a Chris­tian cler­gy­man and the Greek pa­tri­arch in Is­tan­bul? In­stead of unit­ing, a 1,500-year-old her­itage is di­vid­ing us. I am sad­dened and shaken,” said Vatholo­maios, who is the spir­i­tual leader of 300 mil­lion Ortho­dox Chris­tians world­wide. A UNESCO World Her­itage site, Hagia Sophia was con­verted into a mosque by the Ot­toman Turks af­ter the fall of Con­stantino­ple (mod­ern-day Is­tan­bul) in 1453. It was turned into a mu­seum in 1935 un­der mod­ern Turkey’s sec­u­lar founder Ke­mal Ataturk.

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