Moscow wants Turkey to return Cathedral of St. Sophia to Orthodox Church
The State Duma deputies supported the idea of return of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul to the Orthodox Church. This was stated by Chairman of Committee on Property, coordinator of inter-factional parliamentary group on the protection of Christian values Sergei Gavrilov, TSN reports.
Today, when the Russian-Turkish relations are undergoing “endurance trial,”the mutual friendly initiatives and proposals are of special importance, Gavrilov says.
“The Russian side deems it possible to recur to the ancient shrine of the Christian world, located in Turkey, Istanbul - St. Sophia (Hagia Sophia) of Constantinople –an ancient Byzantine cathedral, which is associated with the history of the Universal Christian Church. We expect a friendly step from the Turkish side - returning St Sophia Cathedral of Constantinople to the Christian Church,” the deputy said.
He added that Russia is ready to participate financially, and involve the best Russian restorers and scientistsin the restoration of the universal Christian monument.
“This step would help Turkey and Islam demonstrate that good will is above politics. Saint Sophia should be returned to Christians,” the parliamentarian said.
Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was converted into a mosque. In 1935, Hagia Sophia acquired the status of museum. St Sophia Cathedral was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List among theother monuments of Istanbul’s historic center in 1985.