Thousands of worshipers flocked to Istanbul to attend the first prayer in Hagia Sophia since it was turned into a mosque causing an incident with police cordon.
Waves of people were scattered across the road outside the former Christian Cathedral waiting to enter and pray. At the same time, measures against the spread of the coronavirus had been neglected, the AP writes.
Orthodox Churches throughout Greece on Friday marked the conversion of Constantinople’s Hagia Sofia to a mosque by mournfully tolling their bells in protests, flags were lowered on half of the spears, while the patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church will serve a special mass this afternoon.
Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said that this is a difficult day and that “shadows hung over us” by turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
“It is something that has shocked Christians around the world, not just Greeks. We warned earlier that this would create an unbridgeable gap between Turkey and the Christian world,” Petsas said.
The sixth-century building had been open to all visitors, regardless of their faith, since its inauguration as a museum in 1935.
“This decision clearly affects not only Turkey’s relations with Greece but also its relations with the European Union, UNESCO, and the world community as a whole,” Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.