CNA Staff, Jul 24, 2020 / 15:00 pm
Catholic bishops across the United States have issued joint statements with their Greek Orthodox counterparts expressing sorrow at the reopening of Hagia Sophia as a mosque on Friday.
July 24, was declared a "Day of Mourning" as the former Byzantine cathedral opened for formal Islamic Friday prayers for the first time in more than 80 years on July 24.
Hagia Sophia had been a museum since Turkey's establishment as a secular state. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed a decree July 10 converting it into a mosque following a ruling by the Council of State, Turkey's highest administrative court, earlier that day which declared unlawful an 80-year old government decree converting the building from a mosque into a museum.
Religious leaders around the world, including Pope Francis, decried the move, with the pope saying it caused him "great sadness."