Expert: If Phanar is silent about Sophia, it cannot be leader of Orthodoxy

Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Photo: interfax.ru

The conflict over Hagia Sophia showed that the US State Department’s cooperation with Phanar turned out to be useless, theologian and publicist Sergei Khudiyev noted.

The silence of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople about the intentions of the Turkish authorities to convert the Istanbul Hagia Sophia into a mosque shows that the head of Phanar cannot be the head of Orthodoxy, said the theologian and Orthodox publicist Sergei Khudiyev.

“This silence of the Patriarch of Constantinople demonstrates (once again) that his claims to rule the Orthodox world are groundless. If a person’s behavior is determined by external pressure, it is not always fair to blame him. But he hardly needs to obey. If he cannot defend the interests of the Church in this case – how will he do it other cases?” Vzglyad business newspaper cited Khudiyev’s words.

The theologian noted that Phanar’s silence on this topic “looks especially amazing against the backdrop of stormy activity” on the creation of a OCU in Ukraine. Then the head of Phanar justified his actions with the status of “First Hierarch”, but now he cannot intervene even in his own affairs.

“His silence can be taken with a certain excuse: he is a citizen of the Republic of Turkey and Phanar (the quarter of Istanbul where his residence is located) is the Turkish territory. The grave need to somehow get along with hostile authorities, swallow grievances and keep your indignation to yourself is a disaster, not a fault,” the expert said.

He also drew attention to the fact that the Turkish authorities can expel the Patriarchate of Constantinople from Istanbul at any time.

“The closest union that, as the Ukrainian crisis has shown, exists between Patriarch Bartholomew and the US Department of State, has proved futile. The Department of State spoke out on the matter; representatives of the Turkish authorities unequivocally rejected its exhortations – what’s next? Any dreadful sanctions? Hardly,” added Khudiyev.

He also noted that the head of Phanar does not act in this situation in the same way as the popes acted in similar cases, with whom critics of his work compared Patriarch Bartholomew.

“Here we are struck by a clear difference – popes vehemently defended the interests of the Church in the face of secular rulers, and it is very difficult to imagine a pope who would be silent in such a situation,” the theologian noted.

Mr. Khudiyev emphasized that the solidarity of the Primates of the Local Churches could help in this situation, because they are in different countries and have different opportunities.

“But Constantinople did not want solidarity – it wanted power. And now it turns out that its own capabilities are not enough even to speak up against the re-transformation of the greatest temple of Constantinople into a mosque. This is sad but, alas, expected,” concluded the theologian.

Earlier the media reported that Hagia Sophia was already being prepared for conversion to a mosque, and later one of the leaders of the Turkish political “Welfare Party” (“Saadet Partisi”) Abdullah Sevim suggested painting the face of Seraphim on the dome of the Cathedral as soon as possible.

On June 15, 2020, Turkish Minister of Justice Adalet Bakanı Abdulhamit Gül announced the need to open Hagia Sophia for Muslim prayer.

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