ST. Sophia, Constantinople.

Oral Answers to Questions — Near East. – in the House of Commons on 2nd August 1922.

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Photo of Sir Robert Newman Sir Robert Newman , Exeter

3.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has received any information as to the serious condition of the Church of St. Sophia, in Constantinople; whether it runs grave danger of destruction through want of repair; if it is a fact that its external nave is occupied by soldiers and ammunition kept there; and whether any pressure can be brought to bear upon those in control to safeguard this building, almost unique in its beauty and historical interest, from falling into decay?

Mr. HARMSWORTH:

From various reports obtained by His Majesty's High Commissioner at Constantinople in April, 1921, it was clear that, at that time, the building, though not permanently secure, was in no immediate danger. The Turkish authorities appeared to be fully alive to the importance of preserving it. In regard to the third part of the question, I have no information, but inquiries will be made. In regard to the last part, no immediate representations appear to be called for.