Russian Orthodox Church criticizes Erdogan’s quest to convert Hagia Sophia into mosque

MOSCOW / ANKARA – The Russian Orthodox Church condemned the proposed Turkish plans of converting Hagia Sophia Museum, the most famous tourist location in Istanbul, into a mosque, describing such a move as, “A return to the Middle Ages”.

“In a multi-faith world, it is necessary to respect religious feelings,” Bishop Illarion, Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of Moscow Patriarchate stated, additionally commenting that Turkey has no lack of mosques.

Bishop Illarion considered the decision clearly political, describing it as an “unacceptable violation of freedom of religion”.

He added that the Russian Orthodox Church does not understand the motive behind changing the status of the Hagia Sophia Museum and believes that domestic political considerations are behind the move.