Statement from the Presidents of Churches Together in England on the Hagia Sophia

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The Presidents of Churches Together in England (CTE), representing the full breadth of Christian traditions across the country, are saddened at the decision of the Turkish Government to change the status of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

For a long period of time Hagia Sophia has been a unique centre symbolising a co-existence of people of faith.

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, as a place where the rich history of Istanbul is told visually, can be a living example of religious tolerance and respect.

The decision to alter the status quo in this way is a powerful, symbolic change that is lamentable and painful for many people of faith the world over.


Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

Archbishop Justin Welby
Archbishop of Canterbury

Revd Dr Hugh Osgood
Free Churches Moderator

Archbishop Angaelos of London
Archbishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London
CTE President for the Orthodox Churches

Pastor Agu Irukwu
Head of Redeemed Christian Church of God UK
CTE Pentecostal President

Churches Together in England (CTE) is the national ecumenical instrument supporting and encouraging churches from a wide range of traditions to work together in unity. Nationally, CTE brings together 50 Member Churches from many diverse traditions. It unites the broadest range of churches in the whole of Europe. CTE’s strapline is: One in Christ Jesus, engaged in God’s mission, empowered by the Spirit.