Fr. Andrei Tkachev: There’s a verse of Psalter on every brick of St. Sophia
Famous preacher Archpriest Andrei Tkachev commented on the intention of the Turkish authorities to convert the Hagia Sophia Cathedral into a mosque.
On July 7, 2020, Archpriest Andrei Tkachev, a well-known missionary and preacher, a clergyman of the Russian Orthodox Church, commented on the intention of the Turkish authorities to turn the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul into a mosque. The clergyman shared his reflections on the actions of the Turkish authorities in the programme "’Erdogan, do not escalate!’: Why the mosque in Hagia Sophia may lead to war", which was placed on the YouTube channel "Tsargrad TV".
In the programme, Archpriest Andrei said that the Hagia Sophia Cathedral was built reverently, on each brick during the firing they stamped a verse from the Psalter, and after each 12th brick, the bricklayers stopped and read a short prayer. According to the cleric, this cathedral "gave birth to an Orthodox Divine service" as it is known to Orthodox Christians today.
"The city of Hagia Sophia, Athos and Jerusalem are 3 points of power in the minds of Russian people," said Archpriest Andrei.
He recalled that pilgrims before going to Athos or further to the East, pilgrims aimed to visit the Hagia Sophia Cathedral. The clergyman drew attention to the fact that the status of a museum for this cathedral is beneficial to all, as it "contributes to the smoothing of conflicts between countries and peoples.
"The transfer of it (Hagia Sophia – Ed.) into the confessional identity of one of the religions, in particular its conversion into a mosque, exacerbates an already quite acute international situation," said the famous preacher.
Archpriest Andrei also noted that Muslims in Turkey do not really have an urgent need for another mosque, as their teaching is not tied to the temple.
"There are enough mosques in Istanbul. In principle, Islamic theology is not tied to the temple. As such, the temple is not really needed. The influence of the Christian East on Muslims forced them to build religious buildings and arrange places for prayer in them. Actually, the original Islam supposes prayer in the open air, where the position of the sun has caught you," explained the famous missionary.