The first stone for the symbolic Hagia Sophia Church was laid in the city of Al-Sqaylabiyeh in western Hama. The church will be a replica of the mother cathedral of Hagia Sophia in Turkey, Al-Masdar News reports.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held the presence of Syrian and Russian officials, in addition to religious figures from the people of the region.
It was written on the foundation stone of the symbolic church:
“During the reign of President Bashar Hafez Al-Assad, President of the Syrian Arab Republic, the blessing of the Bishop of Hama and its subordinates Nikolaos Ba’albaki and the blessing of the Russian Federation represented by the commander of the Russian forces operating in the Syrian Arab Republic, General Alexander Yuryevich Chaiko, laying the foundation stone of the Hagia Sophia Church, introduction From Nabel Shafiq Al-Abdullah, on the authority of the martyrs of Sqaylabiyeh, Syria, and its allies, and a tribute to the Great Hagia Sophia.
This step was supported and blessed by the Orthodox Christian religious leaders in both Syria and Russia, and they considered it a step of solidarity with the mother Church of Hagia Sophia, and an assurance that the Turkish President will not be able to obliterate the features of this global impact on the list of UNESCO, which played a central role in Christian history over the course of 1500 years old.”
Last July, in a move that sparked international religious and political criticism, the Supreme Administrative Court in Turkey annulled the government decree issued by the modern Turkish state in 1934 to convert Hagia Sophia from a mosque to a museum, based on what was described by historical documents confirming the purchase by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror of the Hagia Sophia building before it was converted into a mosque.