Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has expressed strong opposition to the potential conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. He was speaking during a debate about whether or not Hagia Sophia should become a mosque, at the Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches, which is underway in Istanbul, and his statements were widely broadcast by the Turkish media.
“If Hagia Sophia is about to become a place of worship once again, it should operate as a church. After all, this is why it was built,” underlined the Patriarch.
“Recently, we have seen many people asking for Hagia Sophia to be converted into a Mosque. The Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek Orthodox church is strongly opposed to such a scenario and, along with all Christians, will react to this conversion,” he said.
Recently, many extreme Turkish nationalists have been demanding that Hagia Sophia be converted into a mosque once again. Kemal Ataturk turned Hagia Sophia into a museum when he established the Turkish Republic; it had been operating as a mosque since 1453 when Moameth the Conqueror seized Istanbul.