The first church built from scratch in Turkish territory since 1923 – the year of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey – is going up in record time.
Turkey is showing disregard towards Christian cultural heritage and failing to fulfil its promise to maintain free access to Hagia Sophia, Nikolay Balashov, an archpriest of the Russian Orthodox Church, told Sputnik on Friday, addressing Ankara’s latest decision to convert another former church into a mosque.
Ever since the reversion of Hagia Sophia back into a mosque, the Muslim call to prayer has been resounding from its minarets.
On 10 July, in a speech to the nation, President Erdoğan announced that the ancient Basilica of Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage site, would be reopened for Muslim worship on 24 July.
Since its origins in the sixth century A.D, the Hagia Sophia has served as a church, a mosque, and, since 1934, a museum.
Islamic prayers were held on Friday in Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia basilica for the first time in 86 years.
The Greek president has lobbied Pope Francis to pressure Turkey to backtrack on Hagia Sophia.
A Jesuit expert on Islam has said that it is “hypocritical” to say that ‘Christianity has lost a church’ with the Hagia Sophia mosque reconversion.
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has said he dreams of Hagia Sophia becoming a “centre for the encounter of religions”.
The Serbian Orthodox Patriarch has launched a last-minute appeal for joint Muslim-Christian worship in Hagia Sophia, in what would be, on his judgment, a sign of “historical symbiosis, tolerance and trust”.
COMECE, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union, has labelled Turkey’s decision to reconvert the Istanbul monument of Hagia Sophia into a mosque “a blow to interreligious dialogue”, as CEC, the Conference of European Churches, has warned the move could “potentially create fertile ground for religious hatred and subsequent violence”.
On 10 July, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, after a court ruled that the site’s secularisation was unlawful.
By turning Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque, Turkish authorities have fixed a historical mistake made in 1934, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on Tuesday.
The Vicar Apostolic of Anatolia has recalled that most Turks want Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia to be a mosque, and as such the decision to reconvert the monument was “not the whim of the president”.
A Vatican advisor has denied that “Islamic aggression” is behind Turkey’s decision to reconvert Hagia Sophia into a mosque, recalling that “Istanbul is not Mecca”.
On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that he had signed a decree converting Istanbul’s historic Hagia Sophia into a mosque which will open for Muslim prayers on 24 July.
The head of the Geneva-based World Council of Churches has written to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressing “grief and dismay” from WCC members at his decision to convert the world famous Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
At the Angelus today, Pope Francis said he was “very saddened” by the decision of Turkish authorities Friday to convert into a mosque again the Istanbul icon of Hagia Sophia.
Why is Pope Francis keeping quiet on the Hagia Sophia mosque conversion? That’s the question being asked above all by Orthodox Christians after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed a decree Friday handing control of the 6th-century basilica turned neutral museum in 1935 over to the Diyanet, the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs.
Last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested that Hagia Sophia, formerly the Church of the Holy Wisdom, which used to be an Orthodox Christian cathedral before becoming a mosque and then a museum, could become a mosque again, with free admission.
The Turkish Council of State today postponed its decision on whether to overturn the 86-year-old legal provisions ensuring neutral museum status to the Hagia Sophia, the ancient Christian basilica turned mosque turned museum, and to allow the site to be transformed into a mosque again.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the head of the world’s Orthodox Christians, has warned that the proposed conversion of the museum of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque “will disappoint millions of Christians” and “fracture” the East and the West.
This year in the city of Antakya, Catholics, Orthodox and apostolic Armenians will not be able to live together the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.
The leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople (Istanbul), recently expressed his concern over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plans to convert the Hagia Sophia basilica into a mosque.
Ukrainian Christians have weighed in on the push to turn the museum of the mosque-basilica of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul back into a mosque again, saying that the “neutral status” of the monument is the “key to friendship” between the Muslim and Christian religions.
The Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople Sahak II Mashalian has endorsed the idea of restoring the status of a place of worship to the mosque-basilica of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, today visited by tourists as a simple museum.
The Turkish Council of State, in a session next Thursday July 2, will consider opening the monumental complex of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul to Islamic worship again.
In Europe “we give money to Turkey so refugees don’t annoy us”, a cardinal has denounced.
Pope Francis today in the general audience pleaded for the coronavirus “epidemic” not to obscure the plight of the “poor Syrians… suffering on the Greek-Turkish border”. A people, the Pope said of the Syrians, “who have been suffering for years” and who are “forced to flee from war, hunger, and disease”.
The German Churches have criticised as “disgraceful” the EU response to the Greece-Turkey migrant crisis.