Moscow Wants Turkey to Return Cathedral of Agia Sophia to Orthodox Church

Source: Religious Information Service of Ukraine

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.

Edited by

Religious Information Service of Ukraine


Andreas1/5/2018 1:13 pm
Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all. With the greatest respect it will help us all to remember that the local slang name for constantinoupoli is Is tan bul meaning in the city in Greek. Secondly what would be more useful to the Greek community of Turkey would be reopening the seminary of Halkis. This would be a great confidence building measure for peace respect & co-existence. Finally why not allow services in our cathedral if it can’t be given back. There is an agreement: re-open the seminary & one mosque in central Athens as many visitors & residents pray in the parks. This is what a Greek from Istanbul told me recently, Pres. of our church.
Ali10/14/2017 7:30 pm
It was wrong for the Turks to convert it to a mosque and they should return it to the Greek Church. The Turks however would never have been able to conquer it if it hadn't been for the European Crusaders sacking Constantinople where they looted all the relics from the city and hold them to this day.
The problem is still between the Eastern Church and the Europeans and not the Muslims. They promised the Russians they would allow them to take Constantinople after they defeated the Ottomans, but at the last minute they betrayed Russia and sided with the Turks. A resurrection of Constantinople would be a big challenge to Rome as the centre of christianity and that cannot be allowed.
Mike10/3/2016 10:58 pm
The only way to save Europe and the civilization from this bad weapon ( Islam ) is by returning Hagia Sophia and all Constantinople,
God bless Russian!
biddi8/8/2016 4:22 pm
I think the true face of Islam would destroy that amazing Byzantine treasure, rather than hand it back. That's Islam;s modus operandi - destroy all other cultures prior to Mohammed. Be it the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, the ancient city of Palmyra or what remained if the city of Nineveh in Iraq. With Islam we're dealing with animals, who know nothing except murder, terrorism and destruction. That's always been the case since Mohammed's appearance in 660AD.
Alice pellegrini7/17/2016 6:32 am
God bless Russia for having the guts to ask for what belongs to orthodox Christians, agia Sofia was taken by force by the Turks with much Christian blood being shed and unfortunately the Turks will not give it back peacefully. The Turks have always been aggressors, have been at war with all their neighbours and are not likely to change now. They came from Turkestan, plundered our Christian land, destroyed our churches, and turned it into to turkey and Islam, that's the fact.
Imran7/15/2016 10:36 pm
I as a muslim would have no problem if the hagia sofia was returned to christians,the gesture of goodwill and harmony to the world would be worth a millions times more to me as a muslim. Most muslim i know would support this but the political and religious advantage takers would block it for there own ends to keep there power and aithrotiy Allah commands us to respect other right to worship and repect there places of worship.if christians funded the buliding of a mosque and got hagia sofia in return, that would be amazing. Its time for believers in god to start doing godly things of mercy,respect,tolerence,forgiveness and kindness.
Robert Dale5/23/2016 6:32 am
Who should they give it to, Russia, Greece. Or maybe it could become s City/State, and Identify as The One Hohy Catholic and Apostilic Church.
Bill5/22/2016 4:29 pm
Bravo Russia! So brilliantly worded. Cyprus should be handed back to the Greeks as well the Western half of Asia Minor. The world needs a country like Russia with conservative moral values. I unfortunately live in the decadent West which seems to be against its own culture!
John5/16/2016 5:24 pm
It seems that Russia requested, not demanded, something that is not wrong to request. Before TURKEY called it Istanbul, there was Constantinople. In Constantinople was built the largest Orthodox church, revered (not worshiped) for it's beauty and majesty and holiness but Orthodox and other Christians. It was looted and damaged in a show of disrepect to show disdain for the Christians and the church they revered and used as a mosque. It's use as a mosque was seen as wrong after a while by the very people who took it over (by force) and turned it into one. So they made it a museum as a compromise. A show of fairness and giving it back for use as a Christian church is surely the next step in the direction already taken.
James4/30/2016 8:58 am
Well, it has been prophecized many many years ago, that this will happen - just YouTube video: 'Elder Paisios - The Prophecies about Constantinople (English subs)' - unfortunately it wont be handed over peacefully.
Marko Sarovich4/29/2016 6:50 pm
A museum???? Remember Jesus trashed the tables for making "merchandise" of God's House.
Boris M Garsky4/26/2016 3:55 pm
Christians should stop cow towing and pandering to the Muslims and Jews. Hagia Sophia belongs to us.Thanks to the Roman Catholic crusades, the Orthodox Christians were raped, slaughtered and sold into slavery by the muslims and Jews. We owe it to our Ancestors to take the Blessed Church back for Her People. I make no apologies to anyone.
Vicki Nikolaidis4/21/2016 11:45 am
Yes, of course, Agia Sophia was built as a Christian Church. Maybe a compromise is in order. Certainly Turkey's alliance with the US for gun trafficking and murder should be a priority for Christians - shouldn't it?
Sally Iloff1/11/2016 5:55 am
Wonderful idea, proper action!All the world belongs to God but what is for His own service on the earth He always demands to be only for serving Him!l
Trog1/6/2016 12:10 pm
After Erdogan's fellow Turks overthrow him and confiscate the wealth that he obtained from illegal ISIS oil, the newly reconsecrated Agia Sophia, in an act of Christian charity, can employ him to sweep the floors.
Donald Link12/26/2015 9:13 pm
Possibly a former mosque in Toledo or Granada could be trade to Islam for St. Sophia.
Bryan12/23/2015 10:43 pm
If only, but Erdogan would never do that. He wants to bolster his support among the most antichrist of all Muslims in Turkey, so that means he will turn Hagia Sophia back into a mosque. He will not care who he has to crush to do it, either.
Mikhaila12/14/2015 7:19 pm
U.S. Turkey and NATO and U.N. all need to support this 100%. If they did would be a wonderful opportunity of interfaith friendship and for the East and West to mend lots of past hurts. I hope U.S. will support this and if Turkey is so wishing to apologize to Russia, they need to show it by action... I hope Turkey will eventually recognize what an amazing opportunity for them this would be to help encourage peace in this world. Turkey should NOT be using this sacred place as a museum for looky lou camera-obsessed type tourists...this is a sacred place and needs to be returned for what it was originally intended.
constantinou12/12/2015 2:38 am
Im not into listening to the turkisk point of view on this matter, its laughable, its arrogant, hypocritical and yes things have happened to both sides but in all honesty the atrocities happened on turks pale in comparison
David Mielke12/4/2015 3:22 pm
How about an initial simple request - the re-opening of the seminary?
GM12/3/2015 6:58 pm
Slopaski, everything begins with a dream, otherwise there would be no Israel on the map, no universities, no parks, no people born... so, why not? especially the justified dream!
lana kokayeff12/2/2015 7:23 am
Istanbul is the current name of the city, but Constantinople is the spiritual heart of Orthodoxy.
Harry Farantos 12/2/2015 2:46 am
. The orthodox faith is true. For the ones they they don't know what is coming up go on you tube and see what father paisios predicted from the Holly mnt. Of Athos
Olivia-Maria MARCOV11/30/2015 4:04 pm
well done ! let us pray for this !
mehmett11/30/2015 12:20 am
The place is museum and belongs to all mankind. come and visit, turkey always welcomes you. but don't make stupid fantasies. it is stanbul! get over it!
John Francis Borra11/29/2015 8:11 pm
Yes! Then, of course, Orthodox and Catholic must reunite.
hagop kassabian11/29/2015 7:01 am
Nothing can be taken without force! And everything can be given by goodwill. Looking at the history, you know my answer.
Zeynep11/29/2015 3:17 am
Yeah, I agree with Slopaski. You know, dreaming improves your imagination which is important. Dream even harder and maybe Turkey will give you even Istanbul, a city that people in delusion call "Constantinople"
Mark Goodman11/29/2015 1:33 am
It's easy to ask but rather more difficult to do the same as you ask others to do. How about the damage Russia did to the Turkish independant republics for the past century? The mosques that were blown up etc. your bloody past is inexcusable. Now you want to play holier than thou and just want want want. I want $1million dollars too. Can you arrange this for me please Russia?
Megali Cohones11/28/2015 8:28 pm
There seems to be some serious confusion from the writer of this story as they don't even know that there is no such place as ''Constantinople''. Hasn't been for almost a centruy. Perhaps it's time to wake up and actually stick to facts?
johannseon11/28/2015 5:54 pm
I am a Christian - am I believe this shouldn't happen. Hagia Sophia should remain a museum. Preserve the history from both sides. Also, we shouldn't "worship" the Church.
ed volak11/28/2015 5:50 pm
Gus11/28/2015 12:52 pm
Good luck on that one!
Sylva~MD~Poetry11/28/2015 12:06 pm
This is a real theft... God is not a thief
Turks are thieves... charging each visitor $12...
see how much money they make ...
KHALIFA OMAR will not accept his name there,
neither IMAM ALI (God blessed his face--Karama Allaho wajhaho)
They are both honest men ...
Even God will refuse his name there ...
God is not a thief.
Grace11/28/2015 4:41 am
When this came on my screen my heart leapt with joy . Yes, yes, I pray that this would happen , it should happen !
Max Rosser11/28/2015 2:38 am
If Turkey ever wants to be part of The European Union it must return the Church as Islam ityself instructs it to do.
Marianne Windmeijer11/28/2015 1:16 am
A beautifull church that should be returned to the Christian church.....
Henri Clarino11/28/2015 12:58 am
J'applaudis le projet de restituer а la chrйtientй orthodoxe la basilique Sainte Sophie . C'est une heureuse initiative.
Henri Clarino
de l'Acadйmie Europйenne des Arts
Lance Justin Peter Okones11/28/2015 12:57 am
wouldn't it be something to attend the Divine Liturgy at Hagia Sophia. I have a prayer rope that my son took there and reached through the surrounding fence and touched it too the Church.
Peter D. Aglione11/27/2015 8:44 pm
I absolutely SUPPORT the return of the Hagia Sophia to the Orthodox Church where it belongs.
Peter D. Aglione, Byzantine Greek Catholic and supporter of Christian Unity, One Church, Orthodox and Catholic, as is the will of The Father that all may be One.
Caliope Kamenos11/27/2015 7:03 pm
Russia is absolutely right to ask Turkey for Agia Sophia, it does belong back to the Greeks. I just don't want to see anymore bloodshed. If only Turkey would just give back peacefully. May God bless Russia and the USAand the whole world!
Slopaski11/27/2015 5:36 pm
Lol keep on dreaming
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