On July 28th, it became clear why Bartholomew I of Constantinople remained quiet and didn’t criticize Turkey converting Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
His solemn expression of “support” was, essentially, bought by the reopening of the Sumela Monastery, in the Black Sea province of Trabzon.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reopened the monastery via video link, not even personally attending it.
He rejected criticism over the reopening of Hagia Sophia as a mosque in the week ending on July 26th.
On July 24th, Friday prayers in the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque marked the first acts of worship there in 86 years.
“On August 15th, our Orthodox citizens will be able to perform the [Litany of the Blessed] Virgin Mary religious service, which was suspended during the restoration period at the Sumela Monastery,” he added.
Ecumenial Patriarch Bartholomew, on July 28th, thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the restoration of Sumela Monastery and its reopening to visit.
Turkey’s Communications Directorate said in a statement that Erdogan and Bartholomew talked over the phone.
Bartholomew expressed his gratitude to Erdogan for his support and interest in the restoration of the Sumela Monastery, the directorate added.
It said Bartholomew also congratulated the upcoming Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha of the Turkish and Islamic world.
Restoration works at the majestic monastery have been completed after landscaping, investigation, and strengthening of the geological and geotechnical maintenance of rocks were carried out at the monastic complex.
In May 2019 the monastery opened for tourist visits and religious use, after nearly three years of restoration.
It wasn’t opened entirely opened and it would appear that Bartholomew’s silence regarding the Hagia Sophia fiasco was entirely bought via the reopening of the monastery.
The Sumela Monastery is located in the Macka district, the monastery is a site of historical and cultural significance. It was included in UNESCO’s temporary list of World Heritage sites in 2000.
It reopened for religious use on August 15th, 2010 with the permission of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, following an 88-year hiatus.
The cliff-face monastery, which has drawn the attention of both locals and foreigners, hosts hundreds of thousands of sightseers every year. Its construction began in approximately the year 385, according to UNESCO.
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- Turkish President Attends First Official Prayer At Hagia Sophia For Eight Decades (Videos)
- Turning Of Hagia Sophia Into Mosque Is Sign Of Weakness Of Orthodox World: Metropolitan Seraphim