BOSTON – His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America met with President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence moments ago in Washington, DC. His Eminence personally informed both men of the ongoing furor surrounding the conversion of Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque, among other topics that concern the Ecumenical Patriarchate. One such concern that is of grave concern for the Ecumenical Patriarchate is the reopening of the The Theological School of Halki.
The meeting took place in an amicable atmopshere. President Trump and Vice President Pence warmly welcomed and honored Archbishop Elpidophoros, who was escorted by Vicar General and Director of Public Affairs of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Rev. Fr. Alex Karloutsos.
Too late to do anything about it, US President Donald Trump expressed “strong dissatisfaction” that his friend, Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had turned the ancient Orthodox Aghia Sophia cathedral in Constantinople into a mosque.
Greece's state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency (ANA-MPA) reported on the meeting where Trump who is sending secret Federal agents into US cities to kidnap and arrest protesters, said he supported human rights and religious freedoms of minorities in Turkey. He also said that “he would proceed immediately with the necessary interventions,” the article said, without explaining what that meant because the offer came too late to do anything to make Erdogan change his mind.
In a message after the meeting, Pence tweeted in a tweet that “America will stand firm with the Greek Orthodox Church in the call for Hagia Sophia to remain accessible as a source of inspiration and reflection for every person of every faith,” but stopped short of trying to do anything to reverse Erdogan's decision. “Protecting religious freedom at home and abroad is a foreign policy priority for the United States of America. We cherish the faith and charitable works of the 1.5 million members of the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States,” Pence said of a key voting bloc for him and the President.
Elpidophoros tweeted that he was “grateful to have met with President Trump and Pence in the White House and communicated our grave dismay at the re-conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, as well as ongoing security concerns for the Ecumenical Patriarchate and issues of religious liberty.” The Archbishop didn't say why the meeting wasn't sought before it became too late to at least try to have Trump convince his friend Erdogan – whom the US President called “a hell of a leader,” not to convert the church into a mosque.