Archbishop Elpidophoros Deplores Turkey’s Conversion of Orthodox Church into Mosque

Archbishop Elpidophoros. Photo Credit: twitter.com/Elpidophoros
Elpidophoros, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America, deplored Friday’s decision by Turkish authorities to re-convert the Byzantine-era Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Savior in Chora back into a mosque.

The Archbishop wrote on Twitter: “After the tragic transgression with HagiaSophia, now the Monastery of Chora, this exquisite offering of Byzantine culture to the world! The Turkish people do not deserve such a narrow-minded policy. The pleas and exhortations of the international community are ignored. How long?”

The reconversion of the church at Chora, soon after the reconversion of the great cathedral Hagia Sophia in Istanbul back into a mosque, was roundly condemned by a host of international leaders and officials.

An official statement by the Greek Foreign Ministry called Friday’s move “completely reprehensible.” The Ministry called the reconversion a “provocation for religious people everywhere and for the international community that respects the monuments of human civilization.”

Nabila Massrali, the spokesperson for EU Foreign Affairs & Security Policy, also remarked on the reconversion of the church. “We are recording the decision to convert the Chora Church, which functioned as a museum since 1945, into a mosque and to open it for worship,” she stated.

“Like Hagia Sophia, Chora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As a member of the Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity, Turkey is committed to interfaith and intercultural dialogue and the promotion of tolerance and coexistence.”

His Eminence Elpidophoros made his remarks after traveling to Istanbul following the celebration of the Dormition of the Theotokos on August 15. This will be His Eminence’s first visit of 2020.
The Archbishop will remain abroad through the Beginning of the Ecclesiastical Year on September 1 and will be in attendance at the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the Feast of the Indiction. This celebration also includes the the annual observance of the “Day of Environmental Protection.”
When he returns to American shores, the Archbishop will convene the 2020 Clergy Laity Congress, the first one ever to be held in a virtual setting, in accordance with coronavirus measures.