Skip to comments.Former Turkish Cathedral Hagia Sophia May Become a Mosque
Posted on 12/04/2013 1:45:28 PM PST by SeekAndFind
Members of the government of the Republic of Turkey have expressed consideration in turning a notable landmark that was once a church into a mosque.
Hagia Sophia, originally built as a cathedral and presently a museum, may be turned into a mosque, recently commented Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc.
"We are looking at a sad Hagia Sophia, but hopefully we will see it smiling again soon," said Arinc regarding the possible change.
Such a possible move has garnered controversy both within Turkey and internationally, as many believe such a decision could put the country at odds with its generations of secular pluralistic tradition.
Lale Iskarpatyoti, president of the Turkish American Friendship Society of US (TAFSUS), told The Christian Post that she personally believed it should remain a museum.
Speaking for herself, Iskarpatyoti feels that Hagia Sophia is "a testament to Turkish people's tolerance and respect for other religions."
"As we all know, there are religious fanatics in every country; however, most Turks are very open to other cultures and religions," said Iskarpatyoti.
"By keeping Hagia Sophia open as a museum, Turkey should continue to set an example for interfaith tolerance to all other countries and religions around the world."
Hagia Sophia was constructed in the sixth century under the reign of Emperor Justinian I, being placed in the capital of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople.
For nearly a thousand years Hagia Sophia stood as a symbol of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, as well as the power and influence of the Byzantines.
In 1453, the Christian empire fell to the invading Turks, whose ruler, Mehmed II, converted the church into a mosque. Hagia Sophia fulfilled this purpose under the Ottoman Empire up until the twentieth century.
Under the secularizing rule of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the rise of the Republic, Hagia Sophia was turned into a museum, which is its present function.
Istar Gozaydin, professor at Dogus University in Istanbul, told VOA News that she believed the announcement about the possible change was politically driven.
"For the pro-Islamic government it's important to have the monument be a mosque," explained Gozaydin to VOA.
"It's got to do with the current political climate in the country, the local elections approaching that would be a significant source for votes."
While known since the days of Ataturk for its sense of modernism and secularism, some believe that in recent years Turkey has been shifting back to a more religiously Islamic society.
When asked by CP if she thought this trend was true, Iskarpatyoti replied that in her individual opinion she felt there was presently a pendulum swing toward that direction.
"Yes, there does seem to be such a trend in Turkey as well as many other countries, even in the U.S. The pendulum is likely to swing back at some point but I am not sure when," said Iskarpatyoti.
"However, in my opinion, the question of whether or not Hagia Sophia should be converted to a mosque has more to do with religious tolerance rather than the notion of secularism."
Drop the may. Moslems are involved. It will be converted or die.
In a lot of the Christian churches, shrines, and so on that were converted by the Seljuks and the Ottomans, they took great pains to deface (literally) the icons and frescoes.
When you go in and look at many of them, you’d see this happening up to the level that the Seljuk/Ottoman soldiers could reach with their spears.
I saw that all over the place, but it was particularly noticeable in the cave churches in Cappadocia.
Non-western countries who possess land they conquered -stole - such as Russia, China, Turkey - not a peep.
I don't know what Greece could do at this point, but I sure as heck would be raising hell every day in the UN about Turkey's occupation of Constantinople.
Roundels in Hagia Sophia, Istanbul The roundels, painted on wood in Arabic calligraphy, were added during the restoration in mid 19th Century. The eight medallions bear the names of Allah, Muhammad, the first four Caliphs, and two grandsons of Mohammed.
Religious Tolerance in the Middle East is a complete fallacy.
First thing it needs is for those blasphemous scribbles to come down ...
This is one of the world’s greatest churches-a real masterpiece of architecture. What a shame to even suggest anyone commandeer it. Guess that changes our plans for visiting Instanbul.
Will Obama go to worship?
what about US citizens this affects? you don’t need Greece.
what about the seminar the turkish government closed?
what about the ONGOING references to christianity as an “extinct religion” in government documents?
Here's an example of what I was talking about. You'll see that the images that were within reach had their faces desecrated, but those that were out of reach were not touched.
(Click on the picture for a full size version)
It’s not like they are lacking for a Mosque. The Blue Mosque is less than half a mile to the right of Hagia Sofia, and is just as big.
Converting Hagia Sofia into a Mosque would be like having two McDonalds on opposite corners of the same intersection.
They should dynamite it to the ground.
I have left off posting on this site, at least to any extent, as I found that it is not good for my theosis. But this articles and others posted here have forced my hand.
You people use this news from Constantinople as some sort of political lesson. My family lived the Fall of the City on May 28, 1453! My bedtime stories were about the death of my relative on the Walls at the side of the God Ordained Emperor Constantine XI Paleologos and the rape of my female relatives in Agia Sophia at the hands of the Ottomans when they burst in during the final Divine Liturgy. The priests gathered up the Gifts and disappeared into the wall of the Apse, to return when the Great Church is returned to the Orthodox Worship. The women and children were hauled off inti slavery. One of my very best friend is the descendant of the Emperor, our families reuntited after 560 years!
And this Western site uses our Great Church for its cheap politics. Shame, Xalia!
what would Attaturk say to this? Worry not—wait til Russia comes and Liberates Constantinople. Who will defend Turkey? The USA—I think not.
I favor restoring the Sultan, as the Caliph, and his empire, as soon as possible. As I favor the restoration of the Hashemites over Mecca and Medina.
The only people who have successfully kept the Arabs in line, and with the balls to fight the Persians, are the Turks.
And, a Caliph in Istanbul would have a name and an address, in case SSB(N)s were needed.
So the turks intend to re-desecrate the cathedral and you choose to direct your invective against this site?
We saw it back in 1988. Back then, it was being used as a mosque. The crosses, although covered up by paint, were still showing through. We got a chuckle over that. The large circles with the names of Allah were not there then. I guess they needed to cover the crosses more permanently.
It needs to be restored, not as a mosque but as a Christian Church. It was built as a church, and it was defaced by Muslim invaders. Some of the world’s most beautiful mosaics were desecrated and destroyed by these Muslim invaders as the Church was converted into a mosque.
The Blue Mosque was subsequently built right next to Hagia Sophia. In order to make evident its dominance over Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque was built with 6 minarets, not the usual four. Istanabul is full of mosques, many of them hundreds of years old and of beautiful architecture. There is no need to desecrate the Hagia Sophia once again.
As a side note, Hagia Sophia means Holy Wisdom. While it later became an Orthodox Cathedral, it was built in 537, hundreds of years before the Great Schism which split the Catholic Church into Roman (Latin) and Orthodox. Let us hope the day is not far off when the Latin and Orthodox Churches unite once again.
They can have it. I want christian converts!
It was made to give glory to God and it did - to give glory to God by inspiring the awe that God should in peoples hearts. We don’t need the building, we need to evangelize.
They’re just being thugs - really impressive to those Jesus cared about?
I pray this will not happen.
I saw it in ‘89, and at that point they had begun restorations. There were scaffolds everywhere and mosaics were being uncovered and repaired. The discs were up so I never got to see the crosses in person but I have seen them online. But I can tell you those winged heavenly creatures just knocked me out. 500 years of Muslim desecration couldn’t hide the holiness that hovered throughout that place. It was just breathtaking. My sweet host family showed me a lot of Turkey and nothing else even came close.
It would be just like islamists to undo so much work that their country JUST DID.