Thursday, June 11, 2020

Erdogan orders study of possibility of converting Agia Sophia into a mosque again

 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has instructed his aides to conduct a comprehensive study of the possibility of converting the status of the famous Agia Sophia in Istanbul from a museum back into a mosque, the Turkish paper Hurriyet reported today.

“Do the research, then we will all assess and talk about it. Tourists will still be able to visit Agia Sophia if it becomes a mosque, as happens with the Blue Mosque on Sultanahmet Square,” the President said at a meeting of the Central Executive Board of the ruling Justice and Development Party, which is chaired by Erdogan himself.

The head of state asked his aides to take their time and study the issue well, reminding that Agia Sophia belongs to the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Foundation and is a symbol of the conquest of Istanbul.

Agia Sophia, originally built as a great Orthodox cathedral in the 6th century by St. Justinian the Great when Constantinople was the capital of the Byzantine Empire, remains a point of tension between Turkey and Greece.

It was converted into a mosque when the Ottomans defeated the Byzantine Empire in 1453. In 1931, the building was secularized, and in 1935 it opened as a museum.

Erdogan has often used readings from the Koran in Agia Sophia and declarations of his intent to make it a mosque once again to inflame tensions with Greece and the Orthodox world, most recently over this past weekend when the 567th anniversary of the conquest of Constantinople was festively celebrated at Agia Sophia, with the reading of the 48th chapter of the Koran.

Read the rest here.


Archimandrite Gregory said...

Look folks we lost that beautiful church centuries ago. Remember what Christ told the Samritan woman about the temple. I suspect that applies to any temple at an time. Lets us cast our vision upward in prayer.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Indeed. The See of Constantinople should be declared vacant because, of course, Constantinople no longer exists. The Patriarch can move to Athens and, like the current Dalai Lama, resign himself to the fact that he is the last bearer of Constantinople's patrimony. This is becoming a farce, with the "Ecumenical Patriarch" setting up subordinate ethnic vicariates in other countries in order to assert global jurisdiction. As I've said, the bishops better figure this out quickly.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Having said that, are we agreed that Christianity should have a Christendom, or are we all supposed to become Shakers?

bob said...

What sane comments. The turks can do anything they want. They'll probably think twice about hurting it because, let's face it, without Christian antiquity what else brings tourists there? A few years back a Turkish journalist made a comment about the Turkish annual celebrations on the anniversary of the fall of the city. He said, instead of celebrating the conquest of a city, why not celebrate the cities we've founded, created? Because there aren't any. A look at old and new photos of Istanbul show clearly the Turks were and are quite ignorant of the Roman historical sites they came to own, didn't get any idea of preservation or study til the last century. They'll do whatever bothers Greek sensibilities. An interesting aside concerns DNA analysis of their population. A genome scholar in the US determined that the typical turk is about 8% Turkish, the rest Greek. The country is mostly apostate Greek heritage. The descendants cursing the ancestors.