Bulgarian Holy Synod weighs in on Agia Sophia

Sofia, July 21, 2020

Photo: pallasweb.com Photo: pallasweb.com     

The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church issued a statement on the recent lamentable events surrounding the Agia Sophia cathedral in Istanbul, joining its voice “in the calls of our sister Local Orthodox Churches.”

The Bulgarian Synod is closely following the matter of Agia Sophia’s reconversion into a mosque with great attention and concern, the statement reads, published on the official site of the Bulgarian Patriarchate.

“As a millennial shrine for all Christianity and a spiritual center of Orthodoxy, this temple is dear to every Christian heart and represents an exceptional cultural value for all mankind,” the hierarchs write.

“That is why we join our voice in the calls of our sister Local Orthodox Churches, as well as of a number of state leaders and international institutions, to preserve the current status of Agia Sophia as a museum and a UNESCO World Heritage site,” the statement continues.

“Wisdom and goodwill” are needed to resolve this matter, “in the name of preserving good interreligious and good neighborly relations!” the Synod concludes.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Erdoğan shows no signs of reversing his decision to drop Agia Sophia’s museum status in favor of a mosque, and plans are underway to hold the first Muslim prayer service in the 6th-century cathedral on Friday.

The Churches of Jerusalem, Romania, Georgia, Cyprus, and Russia, and the Greek Archdiocese of America have all made statements on the tragic fate of Agia Sophia, as have a number of individual hierarchs from throughout the Orthodox world.

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Gary8/25/2020 12:54 pm
I tend to agree with Juan. He mentions things I think a lot of us have wondered about with sorrow. Why fight for a great Church to be a museum? The ecumenical patriarchate abuses the Orthodox faithful around the world with the help of secular powers and then he crybabies about a Church he wants to be a museum? May GOD help us all?
A Greek of Constantinople.7/24/2020 3:27 am
Juan is right, humanism and cowardice from the mouth of the hierarchy will get you nothing. Not even respect from your flock. However, Juan is also wrong. The Hagia Sophia is desecrated by the Muslim prayer, which is nothing but the gloating of a 7th century desert cult at one of the most Holy sites of the Faith. A reminder of where the policies of humanism and cowardice gets you in the first place. That Hagia Sophia is more than building, that aside from being older than Islam itself, is a an architectural wonder, it is the greatest Cathedral of Christendom, it is the center piece of an Empire that lives in the hearts of those who are Orthodox and in the blood of those who are descended from it. Juan said something that is true.. " If we won't fight to keep it as a Christian temple..". Because none of you will fight for something that is not yours. But I will, because returning the Hagia Sophia to a Church has been the goal for us for the past 567 years and every time we fight we get closer to our goal. Our 'reconquista' is not over yet. It took the Spaniards 781 years to reclaim Spain but they reclaimed it. Juan must be familiar with this even if he is from the Western Hemisphere as his name is Spanish. But since who ever does not gather with me scatters, to give you a biblical verse.. Expect the same apathy in your "fight" against "ecumenism, modernism, the calendar controversy, jurisdictional disputes". I won't lift a finger since I am saving my energy for the fight against the Turk, a fight that approaches.. and I know I will fight this alone. Along side my Greek brothers. The Greek way.. To the bitter end.. The Roman way. But if I survive this fight, because victory will come to the banner of the Cross. I will make sure that I do not share the Hagia Sophia with those who did not fight for it. Just because you are Orthodox, this does not make you worthy of worshiping there. What gives you a right and merit to the spoils is having fought for them.
Gary7/22/2020 11:54 am
And Bartholomew can't or Won't see plainly?
Juan7/22/2020 11:31 am
More disappointing humanism and cowardice coming from the mouth of our beloved hierarchs. UNESCO, good interreligious relations...who cares. Maybe the local Churches should employ their time and resources to address actual issues that have been plaguing the Orthodox world for decades now (ecumenism, modernism, the calendar controversy, jurisdictional disputes) instead of trying to preserve a building that hasn't been a church for over 500 years...as a museum. "The days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." In my view, a church that's been turned into a museum for godless tourists to visit and take pictures of in a frivolous manner is being desecrated to a greater extent than by Muslim worship. If we won't fight to keep it as a Christian temple then let the Hagarenes have it. No Christian should be fighting for the preservation of a UNESCO world heritage museum.
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