US President Donald Trump expressed his strong dissatisfaction with the decision of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to turn the Hagia Sophia into a mosque, in the presence of the Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, with whom he met.
After the scheduled 30-minute meeting on Thursday that Archbishop Elpidophoros, the head of the Orthodox Archdiocese of America, had with US Vice President Michael Pence in Washington, Trump, informed of the Archbishop's presence in the White House, called him to his office and talked with him on critical issues for about 15 minutes.
The US President appeared very annoyed and expressed his concern on the issue of the protection of human rights and especially religious freedoms of minorities in Turkey. In fact, he declared himself a helper and supporter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and personally of Patriarch Bartholomew, as well as of Hellenism, and stressed that he would proceed immediately with the necessary interventions.
As Vice President Pence pointed out in a post on Twitter, America will stand firm with the Greek Orthodox Church in the call for Hagia Sophia to remain accessible as a source of inspiration and reflection for every person of every faith.
"I am grateful to have met with President Trump and @VP Pence in the @WhiteHouse and communicated our grave dismay at the re-conversion of HagiaSophia into a mosque, as well as ongoing security concerns for the Ecumenical Patriarchate and issues of religious liberty," Archbishop Elpidophoros said in a tweet.