Bartholomew Opposes Turning St. Sofia Church in Trapezounta into Mosque



    The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, said he opposes Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc’s idea to turn the Christian Church of St. Sofia in Trapezounta into a Muslim mosque.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch visited the church on August 16th and met with the mayor of the city. In front of Turkish reporters, Bartholomew said: “We respect all mosques and all places of worship, but in this case – turning St. Sophia into a mosque – I see no need for worship. We are in favor of maintaining the church of St. Sophia as a museum. Moreover, as stated by the head of the local (Islamic) community, there are already many mosques to meet the needs for worship of the faithful, and they remain largely partially empty. ”

    The church of Agia Sofia (Saint Sofia) is a monument of Christianity, a gem of ancient architecture and dates back to the era of the Comnenus Emperors (1204-1461.) The Patriarch recalled recent statements by the President of the local Muslim community, Zeki Baytar, who reacted strongly to the Arinc proposal, threatening a revolt. He said: “First we must fill the mosques, then, if necessary, transform Saint Sophia into a mosque.”

    The Patriarch added, “If St. Sophia in Trapezounta (Trabzon in Turkish) is converted into a mosque, it will be made available only to our Muslim brothers. Conversely, if it remains as a museum, it can offer its services to the entire international community, with sizeable profits for its inhabitants.”


    7 COMMENTS

    1. I wonder how he would feel about Islam’s holiest Mosque being one day converted to a church? Bulent Arinc is an ultra nationalist idiot that undermines Turkish-Greek relations.

    2. To our Turkish Brothers instead of putting efforts to turn this building into a Mosque lets put more effort to solve the Cyprus Problem so we can have everlasting peace.

    3. I don’t think this will harm Turkish-Greek Relations it will harm Turkish-Patriarch realtions he is a Turkish Citzen and served in the Turkish military if it happens.

    4. It is by law that the Patriarch must be a Turkish citizen. The religious rights of non-muslims in Turkey are not guaranteed or safe. For the Patriarch to remain in Turkey, he must be a Turkish citizen and have served in the military otherwise, he would have been thrown out. The whole Greek Orthodox religion’s faith rests in the Turkish hands not to extinguish the Patriarch. If this Patriarch dies, our “religious home” in Constantinople will be at risk. There aren’t many people lined up to take over, given the strict rules of living in Turkey as a non-muslim religious leader of 200-300 million Orthodox worldwide. With one good strike, the Turkish government can bring the Greek Orthodox church to a knee. This situation is more precarious than you understand.

    5. Turkey turning churches and museums into mosques… reminds me of Afghanistan during the Taliban era.

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