“God is one”: OCU scratches head over Turkey’s decision on Hagia Sophia
The OCU head's secretary told the story of a joint carol with a Muslim at Christmas and recalled the Koran sura: “There is no compulsion in religion” (2: 256).
God is one, and the conversion of the once main Christian temple into a mosque is not a manifestation of the great faith of the "children of the Living God". This is how Ivan Sidor, referent-secretary of the Kyiv Metropolis of the OCU and assistant to Epiphany, commented on the situation around Hagia Sophia in Istanbul on his Facebook page.
"God is one. <...> Both the Christian world and the Islamic world call for praise to God alone. Both Christians and Muslims turn to the Creator of the whole world in their prayers,” said the representative of the OCU.
He told the story how a few years ago, “a man who professes Islam invited me and my priest friends to come round to sing a Christmas carol: we caroled and glorified God. And this man, a Muslim, repeated: ‘Glory to the Creator’."
“Isn’t it easier to multiply what we have acquired over the centuries, because we are all children of the Living God. In the Qur'an we read the following sura: ‘There is no compulsion in religion’ (2, 256). Therefore, the conversion of the once main Christian temple into a mosque is not a manifestation of great faith or confession. Most likely, this is someone’s strategic step we may comprehend with our minds someday. In the meantime ... all this does not fit in my head,” the assistant head of the OCU summed up.
As reported by the UOJ, on July 10, 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree on changing the status of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and said that on July 24 the shrine would open for Islamic worship.