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17686Avramopoulos on Hagia Sophia’s Renovation

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    Mar 24, 2013

      Avramopoulos on Hagia Sophia’s Renovation
      By Margarita Papantoniou on March 21, 2013

      “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is closely monitoring both the
      developments concerning Hagia Sophia of Istanbul and the reversal of the
      Turkish Government’s politics against Christian monuments in its
      dominion,” reported the Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos in a document
      forwarded to the Parliament.

      He pointed out that “Greece and the rest of the Christian world express
      hope that the voices of reason, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch
      among them, will prevail in the end, in favor of respect towards the
      monuments-symbols of Christianity, which are at the same time an
      inseparable and prestigious part of the world cultural heritage.”

      The conversion of Hagia Sophia’s Church in Nikaia of Vithinia into a
      mosque, as well as officials’ statements concerning the expected change
      of use of Hagia Sophia in Trabzon, which currently operates as a museum,
      concern and puzzle the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as stated in the
      forwarded to the Parliament document, after Golden Dawn’s deputy
      Christos Pappas’ query.

      Avramopoulos said that the Ministry has made this issue known to Turkey
      from the beginning, and is examining every possibility to do the same
      with international organizations.

      “We consider the monuments’ protection and nomination as a fundamental
      duty of every country and especially of Turkey that has inherited and is
      adorned by a number of important monuments of various cultures”,
      Avramopoulos noted. He added that “This duty is urgent concerning
      monuments as Hagia Sophia of Istanbul, worldwide famous not only for its
      historical, cultural and architectural importance, but also as a symbol
      of the Orthodox Ecumenical tradition and the Byzantine spirit.”

      “If Hagia Sophia of Istanbul will be used in a way that is opposite to
      its historical and religious character, Greece will react both
      bilaterally and internationally”, the Minister stressed.

      Pappas asked “in which way will it be ensured that the Turks are not
      going to transform this magnificent Byzantine symbol of the Orthodox
      Christian faith worldwide into a mosque, through their interventions?”

      Avramopoulos answered that “Greek diplomatic and consular authorities in
      Turkey are monitoring the subject closely, as well as the church’s
      possible new renovation and are informing the ministry incessantly.”