With prayers, flags in half-mast and church bells tolls in mourning, Greeks react to the conversion of the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. As the Muslim prayer slowly starts in Istanbul Friday noon, clerics and common people gather in churches across Greece to pray on this day of mourning that has deeply hurt the Greek Orthodoxy.
Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Ieronymos called the conversion of the cradle of the Greek Orthodoxy as “an unholy act of sacrilege.”
Describing the 24. July a “day of mourning” for the Greek Orthodoxy and the Greeks across the world, Ieroymos called on people to attend the customary Good Friday liturgy and hymns at the Athens Cathedral at 8:00 p.m. on Friday.
He invited everyone to join in the prayers and chant the Akathistos Ymnos for aid and support to the nation.
Archbishop Ieroymos was obviously disappointed of the reaction by the international community that was rather lukewarm.
“I am deeply grieved that the powerful of this world, at least the majority of them, are hiding behind their finger, or rather behind their own geopolitical and geostrategic designs,” the Archbishop told state-run news agency amna.
Government spokesman called the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque a “genuine shock to Christians around the world.”
I too am horrified that the Western world isn’t taking this seriously. Increasingly, people can’t see beyond the end of their own noses.
President Erdogan is menacing Cyprus, interfering in Libya, bombing Kurds in Iraq and occupying Kurdish territory in Syria. He is flinging into jail any academic or journalist who criticises him, relying on the people of the countryside for mass support. He continues to empower Da’esh, threatens to unleash thousands of Muslims on Europe, and is dangerously aggressive.
Having recently referred to Christians as “the leavings of the swords” he allocated a special day to rejoice over the fall of Byzantium, & is now re-Islamising the greatest of the Eastern cathedrals. This has a political significance for him & his followers, but Europe refuses to see that. We believe in interfaith dialogue, and sending our schoolchildren to mosques to learn about Islam – though we don’t require Muslim students to participate in Church visits. The UK does not understand that tolerance is interpreted as weakness, and only spurs further demands.
I’m sorry that Greece is having such a painful reminder of the Ottoman Empire. Remember your ancient thinkers and stay strong.