Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
June 16, 2016
We are writing to you as Orthodox Christians to bring to the attention of the Russian Orthodox Church and its faithful the
violation of the sanctity of the Hagia Sophia of Constantinople that has been under way since June 6 (Gregorian Calendar) when a Muslim cleric began reciting Islamic prayers within the former Church built under the auspices of the Great Justinian. We find it particularly scandalous that such activities are occurring within the Church that was named for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ himself.
These actions against Hagia Sophia are demonstrative of religious intolerance and disrespect for Christian sensibilities by the authorities in Turkey. Even while in use as a secular Museum, Hagia Sophia is still hallowed ground. It’s Christian origins are well known to the world and its beautiful iconography which reflect the Holy Gospel and our sacred dogmas and theology serve as a witness to the Orthodox faith.
For these reasons, we are opposed to the activities that are transpiring inside Hagia Sophia at the present time. We wish to convey to you and our brothers and sisters in Russia that we have begun a petition online to collect signatures from around the world in order to demonstrate our opposition to the impending conversion of Hagia Sophia into a Mosque. We would be most grateful if the faithful of Russia were made aware of it so that those who wish to do so could sign and demonstrate their support.
International Hellenic Association (USA)