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Pope Francis pained by Hagia Sophia shift

Turkish President Erdogan has declared the monument was once again a mosque following a court ruling revoking its status as a museum
Erdogan said the nearly 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia would remain open to Muslims, Christians and foreigners.

Reuters   |   Vatican City   |   Published 13.07.20, 12:30 AM

Pope Francis said on Sunday he was hurt by Turkey’s decision to make Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia museum a mosque, the latest religious leader to condemn the move.

“My thoughts go to Istanbul. I think of Santa Sophia and I am very pained,” he said during his weekly blessing in St Peter’s Square.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said the first prayers would be held in Hagia Sophia on July 24, after declaring the ancient monument was once again a mosque following a court ruling revoking its status as a museum.

The World Council of Churches has called on Erdogan to reverse his decision and Patriarch Bartholomew, the Istanbul-based spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, called it disappointing.

Erdogan said the nearly 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia, which was once a Christian cathedral, would remain open to Muslims, Christians and foreigners.

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