Greece condemns 'reprehensible' conversion of Chora Church

TAGS: Turkey, Church, Culture, Diplomacy

A decision by Turkish authorities to re-convert the Byzantine Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora into a mosque is “completely reprehensible,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

The ministry said the decision is yet another “provocation for religious people everywhere and for the international community that respects the monuments of human civilization.”

The presidential decree finalizing the corversion was issued on Friday. The change in Chora's status was passed in December 2019 but the decision of the State Council of Turkey had not been implemented, until today.

Chora, which had been turned into the Kariye Museum after WWII and was then extensively restored, is covered with some of the finest Byzantine mosaics and frescoes.

The spokesperson for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy of the EU also commented on the decision. “We are recording the decision to convert the Chora Church, which functioned as a museum since 1945, into a mosque and to open it for worship," Nabila Massrali said. "Like Hagia Sophia, Chora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As a member of the Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity, Turkey is committed to interfaith and intercultural dialogue and the promotion of tolerance and coexistence.”