Patriarch Bartholomew decided to go to conflict with Erdogan

  • Ecumenical Patriarchate
  • 11.Sep ‘20
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On September 6, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew made a rather sharp attack towards Erdogan and the Turkish authorities, condemning the transformation of the Cathedral / Museum of Hagia Sophia and the Chora monastery into a mosque:

As if the city lacks mosques, as if there was a need for more places of worship for believers of the prevailing religion here, the rulers rushed to take these decisions and actions that offend us, offend our identity, our history, our culture.

Earlier, Patriarch Bartholomew refrained from criticizing Erdogan, despite the fact that many Orthodox hierarchs around the world protested against the transformation of ancient Christian churches into mosques.

Many explained this by the fact that the Patriarchate of Constantinople, despite its importance in world Orthodoxy, within the framework of the Turkish state is a very insignificant institution that has no real influence on internal political processes. However, most likely, Bartholomew expected that in response to his loyalty to the question of Hagia Sophia, Erdogan would allow the resumption of the theological school in Halki, which until the middle of the 20th century was the only educational institution in the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

However, instead of the theological school, Erdogan gave the Panagia Sumela monastery to Bartholomew as a handout, as we have already written about here. The patriarch spent a month waiting, and now, being in the former ceremonial hall of the theological school in Chalki, Bartholomew attacked the president:

In a year it will be 50 years since the termination of the work of our school. And, unfortunately, this was not the only fateful day in recent years for our patriarchy, for Halki, for the Greek diaspora. … Until 1971, when our school closed, we had September events on this day. Today marks the 65th anniversary of the tragic night from 6 to 7 September 1955, when barbarism destroyed houses, shops, churches, law-abiding and innocent people. Even their graveyards were desecrated, and the crowd did not respect our dead.

Naturally, Bartholomew would hardly have made such an attack on the side of the Turkish authorities without earlier securing support from more influential allies: the United States and Greece. Given that the situation in the Aegean region has been deteriorating almost every day over the past months, it is possible that the Ecumenical Patriarchate will be drawn into the conflict between Turkey and Greece / USA.

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