Earlier this week in New York, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America met with Dr. Mounir Bouchenaki, UNESCO Special Adviser on the unilateral Turkish conversion of Ayia Sophia into a mosque.
During the meeting, Dr Bouchenaki briefed His Eminence on the latest developments regarding the status of Ayia Sophia – which had previously been preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site before its redevelopment – and shared the findings of its investigations into the conduct of the Turkish authorities.
The Archbishop was briefed on both the structural damage that has since caused to the sites, as well as the religious and symbolic damage suffered by Orthodox Christians as a result of Turkey’s illegal move.
The meeting was joined by Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou, senior fellow at the Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and Christina Hioureas, Esq., chair of the United Nations Practice Group at the law firm Foley Hoag. Also present was the Reverend Protopresbyter Nicolas Kazarian, director of the GOARCH department of inter-Orthodox, ecumenical and inter-religious relations.