Official Statement of our Archbishop on the conversion of St. Sophia of Constantinople

Archbishop Mr Stephen

On behalf of the Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric, His Beatitude Mr Stephen sent a letter of compassion and support to His Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. In the letter, he expressed his deep concern, shared with the whole Christian world, about the decision to convert into a mosque the Cathedral church dedicated to the Wisdom of God – St. Sophia, the most beautiful ornament in Christian architecture, built in the Christian Byzantine Empire by the founder – the holy and righteous Emperor Justinian I. This Byzantine Emperor was born in what is today, the small village of Taor, in the nearby of Skopje.

In addition, the Primate of the Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric, Archbishop Stephen stated: “With deep resentment, regret and great apprehension we condemn this act as a strong reminder of certain past events, which the modern world and culture consider, and should consider, as part of the dark past.”   The letter further states: “We would like to ascertain the compassion and support of all the Orthodox faithful from our dioceses to the Ecumenical Church and the Throne of Constantinople and, as well as to  Your God-loving, human and God-fearing person, endowed with great zeal and patience.”  Finally, the Archbishop expressed hope that the strong reactions of the institutions and individuals around the world will result in a change of this anti-civilizational act.