November 26, 2015
State Duma deputies have supported the idea of the return of Agia Sophia in Constantinople to the Orthodox Church. This was stated by Chairman of Committee on Property, and the coordinator of the inter-factional parliamentary group on the protection of Christian values, Sergei Gavrilov, TSN reports.
Today, when Russian-Turkish relations are undergoing an “endurance trial,” mutually friendly initiatives and proposals are of special importance, Gavrilov says.
“The Russian side deems it possible to return to the question of Agia Sophia, the ancient shrine of the Christian world, located in Constantinople – an ancient Byzantine cathedral associated with the history of the universal Christian Church. We expect a friendly step from the Turkish side - returning Agia Sophia of Constantinople to the Christian Church,” the deputy said.
He added that Russia is ready to participate financially, and to involve the best Russian architects and scientistsin the restoration of the universal Christian monument.
“This step would help Turkey and Islam demonstrate that good will is above politics. Agia Sophia should be returned to Christians,” the parliamentarian said.
Agia Sophia in Constantinople was converted into a mosque and in 1935 Agia Sophia acquired the status of museum. It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List among the other monuments of Constantinople historic center in 1985.