Continuing Communion Stands With Orthodox Church on Hagia Sophia
CEEC.CHURCH International College of Bishops Condemns Conversion of Hagia Sophia for Use as a Mosque
Muslims said Friday prayers at what had been the largest Christian church in the world for over 1,000 years. For the second time since the Christian Basilica of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople was built in the sixth century, the stately building has officially been re-converted into a mosque.
On Friday, July 10 the Council of State struck down the 1934 establishing it as a secular museum. Within hours, Turkey's President signed a presidential decree that Hagia Sophia be restored as a mosque.
The decision was greeted by an outcry from groups as different as UNESCO to Patriarch Bartholomew, ecumenical patriarch of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.
Patriarch Bartholomew was not the sole Christian leader voicing his concerns. Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church said this decision was a "threat to the whole of Christian civilization."
The International College of Bishops, the ruling body for the Continuing Evangelical Episcopal Communion (CEEC.CHURCH), adds our voices to those decrying this decision. The Communion's General Secretary, Archbishop Robert Gosselin, said "I remember participating in the joint prayer service at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem in May 2014, when Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis stood together and encouraged unity in the Body of Christ. We need to demonstrate that unity today and stand together against this decision." This Communion stands strongly and without reservation in support of Patriarch Bartholomew and our brothers and sisters in the Orthodox Church.
We agree with Archbishop Ieronymos of the Greek Orthodox Church who said, "this outrage and the arrogance doesn't just concern the Orthodox Church and Christianity but all of civilized humanity."
Abp Robert Gosselin, General Secretary