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GreekReporter.comGreeceBartholomew Opposes Turning St. Sofia Church in Trapezounta into Mosque

Bartholomew Opposes Turning St. Sofia Church in Trapezounta into Mosque

The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, said he opposes Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc’s idea to turn the Christian Church of St. Sofia in Trapezounta into a Muslim mosque.
The Ecumenical Patriarch visited the church on August 16th and met with the mayor of the city. In front of Turkish reporters, Bartholomew said: “We respect all mosques and all places of worship, but in this case – turning St. Sophia into a mosque – I see no need for worship. We are in favor of maintaining the church of St. Sophia as a museum. Moreover, as stated by the head of the local (Islamic) community, there are already many mosques to meet the needs for worship of the faithful, and they remain largely partially empty. ”
The church of Agia Sofia (Saint Sofia) is a monument of Christianity, a gem of ancient architecture and dates back to the era of the Comnenus Emperors (1204-1461.) The Patriarch recalled recent statements by the President of the local Muslim community, Zeki Baytar, who reacted strongly to the Arinc proposal, threatening a revolt. He said: “First we must fill the mosques, then, if necessary, transform Saint Sophia into a mosque.”
The Patriarch added, “If St. Sophia in Trapezounta (Trabzon in Turkish) is converted into a mosque, it will be made available only to our Muslim brothers. Conversely, if it remains as a museum, it can offer its services to the entire international community, with sizeable profits for its inhabitants.”

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