Pope Francis mentioned on Sunday that he is “deeply pained” over the choice by Turkey to alter the status of Hagia Sophia — which was originally crafted in Istanbul as a Christian cathedral — from a museum to a mosque.
In a pretty temporary, improvised remark, Francis, speaking from his studio window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, noted that the Catholic Church marked Sunday as International Day of the Sea. “And the sea brings me a minor considerably absent with my considered: to Istanbul,” the pontiff claimed. “I am imagining of St. Sophia and I am deeply pained.”
Francis explained no far more but was evidently referring to the transfer by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to formally transform the monumental constructing back into a mosque. The colossal Santa Sophia cathedral was turned into a mosque after the Ottomans conquered the town in 1453. The Turkish secular federal government in 1934 determined to make it a museum.
The pope, who heads the Roman Catholic Church, is including his voice to potent objections a working day earlier by the head of the Geneva-primarily based World Council of Churches.
That firm described its “grief and dismay” in noting that Hagia Sophia has been “a place of openness, encounter and inspiration for individuals from all nations.” The council’s membership contains Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican churches.
Erdogan declared the monument open for Muslim worship just after a high courtroom annulled the 1934 government conclusion.