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Pope ‘Very Pained’ by Decision to Turn Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia into Mosque

Pope Francis on Sunday expressed his dismay at Turkey’s choice to make Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia museum a mosque, becoming a member of a rising record of non secular and political leaders to sentence the transfer.

“My ideas go to Istanbul. I consider Santa Sophia and I’m very pained,” Reuters experiences he stated throughout his weekly blessing in St. Peter’s Sq..

He spoke simply hours after the interim secretary-general of the World Council of Church buildings wrote to Turkey’s president expressing his “grief and dismay” over Turkey’s choice to vary the standing of Istanbul’s historic landmark, as Breitbart Information reported.

The Pope joined others voicing disappointment on the transfer.

Greece swiftly condemned it as a provocation, France deplored it whereas the U.S. additionally expressed disappointment as did varied U.N. businesses.

Friday’s choice has lengthy sought by conservative Muslims in Turkey and past and particularly by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose recognition is waning after 18 years atop Turkish politics, the New York Instances experiences.

Erdogan, who leads an Islamic-oriented social gathering, has beforehand spoken about probably altering Hagia Sophia’s standing to a mosque however has stated his authorities would await the Council of State’s choice, as Breitbart Jerusalem reported.

Constructed below Byzantine Emperor Justinian, Hagia Sophia was the primary seat of the Jap Orthodox church for hundreds of years, the place emperors had been topped amidst ornate marble and mosaic decorations.

4 minarets had been added to the terracotta-hued construction with cascading domes and the constructing was became an imperial mosque following the 1453 Ottoman conquest of Constantinople — town that’s now Istanbul.

Hagia Sophia opened its doorways as a museum in 1935, a yr after the Council of Ministers’ choice to repurpose the magestic constructing.

Islamist teams, nevertheless, at all times regard the symbolic construction as a legacy of Ottoman Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror and strongly objected to its standing as a museum.

Now their want for change has been granted and it’ll proceed at tempo.

Erdogan stated the favored vacationer attraction will open for worship earlier than the top of the month.

“We’re planning to open Hagia Sophia Mosque for worship on July 24. Hagia Sophia is below Turkish jurisdiction. Any objection to our judiciary’s choice will probably be perceived as a breach of our sovereignty,” Erdogan stated.

Comply with Simon Kent on Twitter: or e-mail to: [email protected]


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