Pope Francis on 12 July said that suffers from the decision of the authorities of Turkey to turn Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque. About it reports “Radio Vatican”.
The events around the Museum, the Pope appealed during a Sunday address to the congregation from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.
“My thoughts are carried away, in Istanbul. I’m talking about Hagia Sophia. This causes me great sorrow,” said Francis.
July 10 the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree that transformed the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a working mosque. The decision was made shortly after the Turkish state Council (highest administrative court) canceled the decree of Kemal Ataturk from 1934 on the transformation of the Cathedral into a Museum.
The decision to convert the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul from a Museum in the temple may cause its exclusion from the list of world heritage of UNESCO.
Religious ceremony in the mosque Hagia Sophia in Istanbul will resume on 24 July, after preparations, promised Erdogan.
USA and Europe condemned Turkey’s decision to change the status of Hagia Sophia. The decision of the Turkish authorities was taken in disregard for the feelings of believers of religious minorities, as noted in the Commission on freedom of religion in the world.
Hagia Sophia is located in the historical center of Istanbul, Sultanahmet. In 1453, after the capture of Constantinople by the Ottomans converted the Cathedral into a mosque. In 1935 it became a Museum. In 1985 the building was declared a UNESCO world heritage site.