Holy Synod Sends Letter to UNESCO over Hagia Sophia’s Conversion to Mosque

ATHENS — The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece on Thursday sent a letter to UNESCO and other international and domestic organisations, calling on them to publicly condemn Turkey's decision to convert the former Christian basilica Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque.

The Holy Synod points out that Christians will not have unobstructed access to the monument if it is converted to a mosque for a multitude of reasons, including reduced public access due to prayers and the concealment of the exceptional mosaics and religious icons for which the building is famous.

The letter notes that the decision once again converts Hagia Sophia from a world heritage monument to a symbol of conquest.

"In addition, the decision of the Turkish Council of State allows the Turkish state to use a monument of Christian culture in a way that seeks to offend the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church, as well as the other Christian denominations around the world, as the church is for the world's Christians one of the most famous and most ancient examples of Christian monumental architecture," the letter noted.



Two doctors in northern Greece - one for a second time - were convicted of negligent manslaughter over the May 2017 death of a 24-year-old man from complications following surgery but will serve no jail time.

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