Skip to comments.Turkey: 13th-century church to be converted into a mosque
Posted on 04/12/2013 5:44:11 AM PDT by SJackson
Islamic supremacists regard the pre-Islamic past of any Muslim country as worthless trash, jahiliyya, not to be preserved for its archaeological value, but effaced as an insult to Islam. This is the same impulse that led to the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan. "Mosque conversion raises alarm: Christian art in Byzantine church-turned-museum is at risk after controversial court ruling," by Andrew Finkel in The Art Newspaper, April 11 (thanks to Twostellas):
One of the most important monuments of late Byzantium, the 13th-century Church of Hagia Sophia in the Black Sea city of Trabzon, which is now a museum, will be converted into a mosque, after a legal battle that has dramatic implications for other major historical sites in Turkey. Many in Turkey believe that the Church of Hagia Sophia is a stalking horse for the possible re-conversion of its more famous namesake in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia Museum (Ayasofya Müzesi). For around 50 years, responsibility for the Church of Hagia Sophia in Trabzon has rested with Turkeys Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The courts now accept the claim made by the General Directorate of Pious Foundations, the government body responsible for most of the countrys historical mosques, that this has been an illegal occupation. The court has ruled that Hagia Sophia is an inalienable part of the foundation of Sultan Mehmed II who first turned the church into a mosque after his conquest of the Empire of Trebizond in 1462.
A building covenanted as a mosque cannot be used for any other purpose, says Mazhar Yildirimhan, the head of the directorates office in Trabzon. He declined to speculate on whether this would mean covering up nearly half the wall space taken up with figurative Christian art, including the dome depicting a dynamic Christ Pantocrator. There are modern techniques for masking the walls, he says.
The church was rescued from dereliction (it had been used variously as an arsenal and a cholera hospital) between 1958 and 1962 by the University of Edinburgh under the direction of David Talbot Rice and David Winfield. This included restoring the original ground plan and removing a prayer niche constructed into an exterior porch. The church also has an exterior frieze depicting the Fall of Man.
It is the whole ensemblearchitecture, sculpture and paintingthat makes Hagia Sophia unique, says Antony Eastmond of Londons Courtauld Institute of Art, who is an authority on the building. This is the most complete surviving Byzantine structure; there is no 13th-century monument like it.
Concern for the building is prompted by the fate of Istanbuls Arab Mosqueoriginally a 14th-century Dominican churchalso administered by the directorate. An earthquake in 1999 shook loose plaster from the vaults revealing frescoes and mosaics. The conservation of these paintings was finished last year but they were immediately re-covered.
Like its namesake in Trabzon, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was also turned into a mosque, after Mehmed IIs conquest of the city in 1453. It was famously made into a museum in 1935 by cabinet decreeunlike the informal arrangement in Trabzon. The re-conversion of Istanbuls Hagia Sophia into a mosque has long been the golden apple sought by Turkeys religious right.
For such a thing to happen would have major implications for the countrys standing as a custodian of world heritage, according to one senior Western diplomat based in Istanbul.
Yet already the current government has been working on a list of historical properties administered by the Hagia Sophia Museum. In January, Istanbuls oldest surviving church, the fifth-century St John Stoudios, which became the Imrahor Mosque in the 15th century before fire and earthquake left it in ruins, was transferred from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to the General Directorate, which plans to rebuild it as a mosque.
Shrouded in secrecy
Turkish scholars are also up in arms at the directorates decision to transform another ruin, the Kesik Minare in Antalya, into a mosque. The local chamber of architects has gone to court to prevent this happening. Originally a Roman temple, the Kesik Minare has a Byzantine, Seljuk and Crusader past. A plan had already been drawn up to turn the site into an open-air museum.
Recent experience suggests that the directorate reconstructs mosques without regard for the millennia of history they contain. The restoration of the sixth-century Church of Sts Sergius and Bacchus (now the Small Ayasofya Mosque) was shrouded in secrecy and completed in 2006 without the academic community being allowed to conduct a proper survey.
Similar complaints have been levelled against the repurposing of yet another Hagia Sophiathe fifth-century basilica in Iznik where the Second Council of Nicaea was held in AD787. It was a museum, but now it is a mosque. Contrary to accepted archaeological practice, the walls were capped with an attached rather than freestanding roof. It has lost most of its original character, says Engin Akyurek, an archaeology professor at Istanbul University. There is a great difference between conserving a historical building and reconstructing it so it can be used as a mosque, he says.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
To be fair ,the Spanish in the 1500s South America destroyed the existing culture,both good and bad,including 99% of all records .
If you fear your beliefs can’t prevail in an open society or forum then either you or those beliefs are wrong.
I’ve been in this awesome building - both it and the Blue Mosque - two of the most amazing buildings on earth - both still standing after hundreds of earthquakes over more than 1500 years.
When Constantine (supposedly) became a Christian, and declared the whole empire Christian (right.....), he converted all pagan temples to “Christian” churches - but Hagia Sophia was the first building designed and built to be a Christian Church building.
I’ll never forget when our guide pointed out 6 marble pillars supporting the building - Constantine had them brought from Ephesus from the Temple of Diana/Artimis.
How appropriate. The first Christian church building was supported by pagan pillars.
As is every church building built since.......IMHO.....the early church met in homes or other secular structures (”school of Tyranus”).
Constantine also imported many other pagan practices (so the populace would accept his “Christianity” and still have what they had in their pagan religions) that remain in much of Christendom today.......the list is long.
When touring Ephesus, our Muslim guide said, “I hope I don’t offend you who are Christians [Muslims in the east only know Christians as being Orthodox or Catholic] - but the worship of Mary was just an import of the worship of Diana/Artimis.....” - Mary purportedly spent her last years in Ephesus under the care of the apostle John.
No offense intended for my Catholic brethren whom I love....
Spain converted a bunch of Mosques in Spain to churches.
It won’t be long till we’re all worshiping in homes . . . or catacombs.
I believe the likelihood is indeed high.
And we won’t gather because of our sectarian doctrines or practices. We’ll have to gather with any professing believers who live near us - as the early church did.
Traveling across town to go to a “church of our choice (read, “beliefs”) may no longer be possible due to fuel costs or availability.......
Revolt is coming.
I see possible unity among Christians could very well be brought about by persecution.
Well I am not surprised by the remarks about the mother of Jesus. Saw pictures of Mary’s house online.
Amen, Biggirl. Amen.
A major burden on my heart for almost 50 years.
The REAL Lord’s Prayer is John 17. (The other one is the “Disciples Prayer”.) If this was His greatest burden just before His crucifixion - how much should it be ours?
We’ll no longer be able to play our self-righteous, religious, sectarian games once normalcy returns. Normalcy being a difficult world where freedom is rare.
We don’t realize that our ease of living is so abnormal in history - and not likely to last with our nation’s rapid departure from and abandonment of all that is true as it completes its conversion to a nation full of lies.
I’m afraid it’s over for our nation, we’ve past the point of no return.
But, God is not restrained in such situations. The true church thrives under difficulty and persecution. All dead religion - dies.
“Every move of God is born in a cave; and dies.....in a cathedral.”
You post that a lot.
I post that a lot because we could very well see that happen in our lifetimes, with the way this society is heading. Consider that a possible prediction.
Nah. There’s way too much diversion available. Ain’t nobody got time for dat revolt mess.
We shall see..........we shall see.
How vulgar of them to do that...really, it’s so in your face uncivilized.
FREE HAGIA SOPHIA!!!!!!
Hagia Sophia was one of the greatest Christian Cathedrals in history. The Muslim swine, predatory and grasping, seized IT and also seized Christian Spain. This was a repitition of what they did in Christianized North Africa and Eastern Asia, and what they did to the Zoroastrians in Iran, the Hindus in India and the Buddists in many places.
Islam is a disease which needs to be extirpated from the earth and a good place to start is with those sites holy to other religions that they have coopted - from Hagia Sophia to the site of the Temple of Solomon and so on.