Athens, Jul 12 (EFE) .- The archbishop of Athens and all of Greece, Jerome II, criticized on Sunday the decision of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to convert the former Basilica of Saint Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque and called it a ” insult to orthodoxy, to Christianity in general, and to every thinking person. “
“The instrumentalization of religion in the search for partisan, geopolitical and geostrategic conveniences characterizes whoever tries it,” the primate of the Greek Orthodox Church said in a statement.
Jerónimo II thus joins the countless representatives of the Christian Churches, politics and culture that condemn the measure announced this Friday.
The Greek Prime Minister, the conservative Kyriakos Mitotakis, argued that this decision, after Hagia Sophia functioned as a museum for 85 years and as a World Heritage Site, is an “affront to its ecumenical character” and a “regrettable” step back from the Turkish President, who in 2005 still bet on working for the Alliance of Civilizations.
According to Mitsotakis, this will not only affect relations with Greece, but also with the European Union, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the international community in general.
The building, a World Heritage Site, was secularized in 1934 and turned into a museum, as a symbol of the coexistence of religions.
Last Friday Erdogan signed a decree to convert the Byzantine basilica into a mosque, after the country’s Supreme Administrative Court, the Danistay, allowed it.
UNESCO conveyed its concern about this decision and recalled that its membership in the World Heritage Site responds to its condition as a museum.
(c) EFE Agency