Dear Brother Archons and Friends,
As you are painfully aware, the Members of the Holy Eparchial Synod of Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, under the presidency of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, have called upon all the beloved faithful of our Holy Archdiocese to observe this Friday, July 24, the day Hagia Sophia will officially become a mosque, as a day of mourning and of manifest grief.
As Archons, we have a responsibility to defend the Mother Church and to articulate the importance and prerogatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Accordingly, I urge you all to invite Orthodox Christians and all Christians and people of goodwill to share in the solemn observances that His Eminence has called for on that day.
His Eminence has enjoined every Church in our Holy Archdiocese to toll its bells in lamentation and to chant the Akathist Hymn in the evening of July 24, just as we chant it on the Fifth Friday of the Great and Holy Fast. Please participate. Please also sign the petitions of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ); the World Hellenic Diaspora; and the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC). See also AHEPA’s call to sanction Turkey.
And finally, please add your name to this petition of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, by replying to [email protected]:
We call upon international bodies and the governments of the world to take action to reverse the Turkish government’s decision to convert Hagia Sophia to a mosque.
Hagia Sophia, as the foremost Cathedral in the Christian world for so many centuries, continues to be a source of inspiration for billions of Christians and people of other faith traditions worldwide. To claim it as the property of one faith group alone is to deny its longstanding status as a living symbol of respect for all faiths and a part of our collective heritage.
This unwise decision casts a shadow over the commitment of the government of Turkey to religious tolerance and religious freedom. The Turkish government’s decision is a deeply ill-advised act of memoricide that ignores Turkey’s rich Christian history and further threatens the religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the remaining Christians of that land. It was undertaken in defiance of the United States, Russia, France, Greece and many others.
We urgently request the relevant world bodies to pressure the Turkish government to rescind this decision, and acknowledge and respect Hagia Sophia’s thousand years as a center of Christian prayer and worship.
In the service of the Mother Church,
Anthony J. Limberakis, MD