NEWS CENTER - Pope Francis said on Sunday that he is “deeply pained” over the decision by Turkey to change the status of Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque.
Following the declaration of Turkish President Erdoğan, who is also the leader of the ruling party AKP, to open Hagia Sophia which was originally built in Istanbul as a Christian cathedral for a Muslim worship, the pope shared a brief remark.
Speaking from his studio window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis noted that the Catholic Church marked Sunday as International Day of the Sea. “And the sea brings me a little far away with my thought: to Istanbul. I am thinking of St. Sophia and I am deeply pained.”
Sharing no more comments on Hagia Sophia, the pope, who heads the Roman Catholic church adds his voice to strong objections earlier by the head of the Geneva-based World Council of Churches who described their “grief and dismay” in noting that Hagia Sophia has been “a place of openness, encounter and inspiration for people from all nations.” The council’s membership comprises Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican churches.