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GOCSA protests against Ayia Sophia provocation

 

August 2020

The Greek Orthodox Community of SA has written to the Prime Minister of Australia Mr Scott Morrison asking him to add his Governmentís voice to the worldwide condemnation of Turkish President Recep Tayip Ertoganís recent move to convert Ayia Sophia to a mosque.

"The Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia (GOCSA) was established in October 1930, specifically for the assistance of the Hellenic community arriving as migrants from 1930-1970 and we are one of the largest and most active organisations in SA as well as one of the oldest.

Over the years the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia has served and continues to serve not only the Greek Community but the broader community adapting to its changing needs. As an organization we have broadened our philanthropic goals and also collaborate with people who share similar visions.

We have been a vibrant and active community organization for many years. Our Community provides many programs and services to its members and the community at large. Such services include: programs for social integration, Aged Care, religious and social services, services to the elderly, youth, & women, education in the Greek language, history and culture, sports and many cultural activities. The GOCSA has also played a key role in shaping a more multicultural and democratic Australian society. Its strength and vitality stem from its broad based community aims and activities, its willingness to respond to and serve social needs.

These days our Community focus has grown to embrace and work with the wider community in a more supportive and mentoring role. This was recently accomplished by securing the operation of the Camden Community Centre to grow and develop it further through a variety of programs and partnerships for the local community.

As you may be aware, the decision last week by the Turkish authorities to convert Hagia Sophia to a mosque shocked and surprised communities and countries worldwide".

The letter, signed by the President and the General Secretary of GOCSA, states that "Hagia Sophia is a significant cultural monument acknowledged by UNESCO to be of World significance. It plays a substantial role as a symbol of Christianity for many people around the world, including Australians of Greek background.

The Hagia Sophia as mentioned is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site in Istanbul. For almost a millennium after its construction, it was the largest cathedral in all of Christendom. It served as a centre of religious, political, and artistic life for the Byzantine world and has provided us with many useful scholarly insights into the period.

Internationally and here in Australia many people have been dismayed and disappointed to hear the Turkish Republic have converted the World Heritage listed Hagia Sophia monument to being a mosque.

Please Prime Minister add your voice of concern and the support of the Australian Government to this critical issue which has been condemned worldwide by many world leaders and ask that the monument is reinstated as a World Heritage museum", the letter concludes.


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