Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill urged to maintain the neutral status of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church said he was deeply concerned about the calls from Turkish politicians to reconsider the Museum status of Hagia Sophia. This Cathedral is one of the greatest monuments of Christian culture and the Church-symbols for all Christians. In his opinion, the continuation of the current neutral status of Hagia Sophia will contribute to the further development of relations between the peoples of Russia and Turkey.
“I Hope for prudence of the state leadership of Turkey”, — stated in the message, which quotes the press service of the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church..
the Patriarch added that in the history of relations of Russia and Byzantium were different, sometimes very difficult periods, but attempts of humiliation of the spiritual heritage of the Church of Constantinople Russian people perceived with bitterness and resentment.
Hagia Sophia was built in 532-537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 the Church was converted into a mosque. However, in 1935 according to the decision of Ataturk, the Cathedral became a Museum, and with frescoes and mosaics were cleaned off the layers of plaster. Saint Sophia is listed among the world heritage sites of UNESCO.
on 2 July, the state Council of Turkey considered the question of a possible change in the status of a Cathedral. The decision will be circulated within the next 15 days. The calls do not change the status of Hagia Sophia, the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the attack on the sovereignty of Turkey.