Deputies – IAO members condemned the decision to change the status of Hagia Sophia

Meeting of the International Secretariat and Chairmen of the Commissions of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy was held via videoconference, and parliamentarians from 20 countries took part in it
Chairman of the Committee on Issues of Public Associations and Religious Organizations Sergei Gavrilov
Chairman of the Committee on Issues of Public Associations and Religious Organizations Sergei Gavrilov

The meeting participants condemned the decision to change the status of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, which is an important Christian symbol and world famous cultural monument.

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“Unfortunately, all the calls of the international community to the Turkish authorities to prevent consequences that could be caused by a hasty change in the museum status of the cathedral had no effect. We have once again seen how dangerous it was to question the settled state of affairs between various religious organizations and states. And if the events in Montenegro might seem to someone just a case of intra-Orthodox disputes about jurisdiction that took place in a small Balkan country, then the change of the status of Hagia Sophia obviously affects all Orthodox Christians and the whole range of relations on our continent. And no matter how the consequences of this regrettable decision develop in the future, we will have to remember more than once that our Orthodox home is open to the world and that external events can affect us a lot,” stressed the Chairman of the Committee on Issues of Public Associations and Religious Organizations, IAO President Sergei Gavrilov Gavrilov Sergey Anatolievich Gavrilov
Sergey Anatolievich

The meeting participants expressed their support for the efforts of the Primates of Local Orthodox Churches aimed at protecting the Christian heritage in historically significant places for Christians, in particular in Northern Cyprus, Jerusalem and Istanbul, and urged their colleagues-members of the Turkish Parliament, member of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, to protect world cultural values and promote interreligious peace.

Participants also expressed deep concern about the current situation as the COVID-19 pandemic has become one of the world's challenges and has affected the general welfare and health of all people in the world, and no country is safe from its consequences.

During the meeting, special attention was paid to an important event — the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory over Nazi Germany. “We know that the Soviet Union had a major role in defeating the enemy. But we will never forget the contribution to the common victory of the allies of the United Nations and the heroic partisans — participants of anti-fascist resistance movements from Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, who, with their courage and self-sacrifice, helped to defeat the enemy, as well as the soldiers of the Bulgarian and Romanian armies, who fought together with Soviet soldiers since autumn 1944,” said Sergei Gavrilov.

Members of the State Duma- representatives of the permanent delegation to IAO Dmitrii Viatkin Vyatkin Dmitry Fedorovich Vyatkin
Dmitry Fedorovich
, Konstantin Zatulin Zatulin Konstantin Fedorovich Zatulin
Konstantin Fedorovich
, Ivan Sukharev Sukharev Ivan Konstantinovich Sukharev
Ivan Konstantinovich
and Aleksei Chepa Chepa Alexey Vasilievich Chepa
Alexey Vasilievich
also took part in the meeting.