Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA, has called on the church to join with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and faith communities around the world for a day of mourning on Friday, July 24.
The observance was called for in the July 19 encyclical from His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and the bishops of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. It is in response to the decision by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey to convert the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul from a museum, its long-term status, to a mosque.
“We join with the Orthodox Christian family in mourning the Turkish government’s actions to make the Hagia Sophia a mosque,” Eaton said. “We share in their grief over this painful transition, which is set to occur on July 24, and commit ourselves to unrelenting prayer. We also will continue to speak out in solidarity with all people who are committed to restoring this sanctuary’s unifying purpose as a museum.”