Pope Francis, Greek President condemn conversion of Hagia Sophia into mosque

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Greece’s President, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, and Pope Francis, both condemned Turkey’s decision to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque over the weekend.

In a tweet on Saturday, Sakellaropoulou said the decision was “a profoundly provocative act against the international community” as it “brutally insults historical memory.”

Similarly, Pope Francis said on Sunday that he is “deeply pained” over the decision by Turkey to change the status of Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque.

RELATED: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia condemns conversion of Hagia Sophia into mosque.

In a very brief, improvised remark, Francis, speaking from his studio window overlooking St Peter’s Square, noted that the Catholic Church marked Sunday as the International Day of the Sea.

“And the sea brings me a little far away with my thought: to Istanbul,” the pontiff said. “I am thinking of Hagia Sophia and I am deeply pained.”

Francis said no more but was clearly referring to the move by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to formally convert the monumental building back into a mosque.

The Pope, who heads the Roman Catholic church, and President Sakellaropoulou are adding their voices to strong objections by Greece’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and members of the Greek Australian community.

RELATED: Mitsotakis denounces Turkey’s decision to turn Hagia Sophia into mosque.

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