For the 12th edition of my live-streamed show, I sit down for an interview with Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos to discuss the history and significance of Hagia Sophia and what this historic cathedral means to the world.
We discussed the UNESCO World Heritage Site particularly on July 24, the day when the first Muslim prayers took place at the recently converted mosque and a day that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America designated a national day of mourning.
Bishop Demetrios serves as the Hierarchal Proistamenos at St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine in St. Augustine, Florida. He is responsible for the organization and development of missionary, social and philanthropic activities geared towards the Spanish speaking population of the United States.
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Bishop Demetrios served for many years as a priest and hierarch in his position as Chancellor for the late Metropolitan Iakovos.
During our half-hour conversation, the bishop offered a brief synopsis of Hagia Sophia’s history to contextualize why Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to convert the museum matters to Greek Orthodox Christians and the broader world.
“This is hurtful. It is not the way of civilized humanity. It’s certainly not the way forward in the year 2020,” Bishop Demetrios said. “If we were making any progress in our interfaith dialogue with Islam and the rest of the world, this certainly set us back.”
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