The Pope was “very sore” when the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided to convert the former Byzantine Church of St. Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque that has been a museum since 1934 and thus loses its secular character.
“The sea takes me far to Istanbul. I think of Hagia Sophia and I am very sore,” said the Pope during the Angelus prayer from St. Peter’s Square. Francisco has shown his thoughts regarding the decision of the Turkish judiciary that opens the door to converting the temple into a mosque for Muslim worship.
During his trip to Turkey in 2014, Francis met with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and then with the Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and the General Directorate for Religious Affairs of Turkey or Diyanet, as is known in.
He also visited the Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul, an old Orthodox patriarchal basilica.