ROC: Sophia’s conversion into a mosque and schism in Ukraine are linked

The Church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Photo: istanbul-life.info

World Orthodoxy has faced the sad event of Hagia Sophia's turning into a mosque weakened because the Phanar recognized Ukrainian schismatics, thinks the ROC bishop.

The division that happened because Patriarch Bartholomew recognized the OCU, has weakened world Orthodoxy, and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople was unable to influence the decision of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque, said Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk on the programme “Tserkov i Mir” ("Church and World"), reports the ROC DECR's official site.

“Of course, we cannot blame Patriarch Bartholomew for failing to keep the Turkish authorities from making this decision because we know that in many other cases the Turkish authorities do not pay any attention to his position and his opinion. But it is a fact that Orthodoxy has come to face this sad event being weakened. Regrettably, the division, which happened because Patriarch Bartholomew recognized the Ukrainian schismatics, has not benefitted the Orthodox Church – now it is already obvious to all,” explained the bishop.

Metropolitan Hilarion said: many experts draw parallels between the events of 500 years ago when the Patriarch of Constantinople signed a union with Rome and Constantinople fell and the modern conversion of the Hagia Sophia Cathedral into a mosque against the background of the Phanar’s legalization of the Ukrainian schism.

“Both journalists and historians draw parallels recalling the year 1453 when a few years earlier the Patriarch of Constantinople signed a unia with Rome. In other Churches, this unia was not recognized; it was not recognized in the Russian Church. Later Constantinople fell and Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque. Now some critics and publicists draw a parallel with those events and say that last year the Ukrainian schism was legalized and this year Hagia Sophia is converted into a mosque, linking that story with the present one,” noted the hierarch.

As reported earlier, EU representative Josep Borell said: the European Union considers the decision of the Turkish authorities to turn Hagia Sophia in Istanbul from a museum into a mosque "regrettable”.

 

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