Thursday, April 16, 2015

Will Turkey convert Christian Church Hagia Sophia into a Mosque (again)?

In 1453, the young Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople. One of the first acts (I believe it only took eight days to do it) was to convert the largest church in the world into a Mosque. Gradually, the minarets were added, and for almost 500 years, until 1931, the "church" was a central point of reference for the Muslim world.

The Church of Holy Wisdom was first built  in 360 AD. After it burned down, it was rebuilt as the largest building in the ancient world. (See photo) It withstood earthquakes, although the roof had to be replaced after it collapsed.

Many Turks never accepted Ataturk's decision to turn the building into a museum in 1935. (The popularity of this site is witnessed every day as thousands of tourists visit. I've sometimes had to wait 45 minutes in line before buying the tickets to take visitors in for their tour.) A short visit can take 45 minutes. Better to take 2- 3 hours and experience, listen to, about, enjoy the importance of this church building to the spread of Orthodox Churches, all the way up to Russia. It was here that the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches split, a division that lasts to this day.

"Back in November 2013, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç expressed his hope of seeing the Hagia Sophia be used as a mosque, already calling it the “Hagia Sophia Mosque” while speaking to reporters.

“We currently stand next to the Hagia Sophia Mosque … we are looking at a sad Hagia Sophia, but hopefully we will see it smiling again soon,” Arınç said at the time in a speech during the opening ceremony of a new Carpet Museum, located adjacent to the ancient Hagia Sophia complex
Now, pressure is on in Turkey. The attempt to transform the Hagia Sophia into a functioning Mosque is only going to grow.

Read more.


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