RF Foreign Ministry urges Turkey to preserve heritage of Chora Church

The Church of the Holy Saviour inside. Photo: tourister.ru

Russian diplomats are concerned about the fate of the masterpiece of late Byzantine architecture – the Church of Christ the Savior, which is to be turned into a mosque.

The Turkish authorities must preserve the cultural and historical heritage of the Church of Christ the Savior from the ensemble of the Chora Monastery, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. The country's leadership decided to convert this temple into a mosque after the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

“We hope that the Kariye Mosque will be operated in full accordance with its UNESCO World Heritage Site status and that no activity involving this unique landmark will prevent free access by the public,” says the statement.

Zakharova noted that the mosaics, frescos and other interior fragments have been preserved almost completely in every part of the building, which makes it an outstanding example of world culture and Christian civilisation. Preserving all this intact, she said, is specifically important.

As reported, the Turkish government intends to turn into a mosque the Church of Christ the Savior in Istanbul, which has been functioning as a museum for over 60 years. The head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk, believes that in this way the Turkish leadership demonstratively disregards the religious feelings of Christians around the world.

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