American Archdiocese declares July 24 a ‘day of mourning’ over Hagia Sophia

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July 24 will become a day of morning, according to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, as the first day of Muslin prayers will commence at the holy UNESCO site of Hagia Sophia.

“Knowing that on Friday, July 24th, there will be an ‘inauguration’ of this program of cultural and spiritual misappropriation and a violation of all standards of religious harmony and mutual respect, we call upon all the beloved faithful of our Holy Archdiocese to observe this day as a day of mourning and of manifest grief,” the Holy Synod of the Church of America said in announcement on Thursday.

Read More: Turkey will cover Hagia Sophia mosaics during prayers, says ruling party spokesman

“We ask that every Church toll its bells in lamentation on this day. We call for every flag of every kind that is raised on the Church property be lowered to half-mast on this day.

“And we enjoin every Church in our Holy Archdiocese to chant the Akathist Hymn in the evening of this day, just as we chant it on the Fifth Friday of the Great and Holy Fast.”

Read More: Australia’s Greek organisations denounce conversion of Hagia Sophia into mosque

The statement added that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America will not “relent in our pursuit of justice and righteousness,” and will continue to speak out “in season and out of season.”

Mr Erdogan signed a decree on July 11 transferring the 6th-century Hagia Sophia, which had bean a museum for nearly 90 years, to the Diyanet, the country’s highest religious authority. 

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