Thursday, February 21, 2013

Orthodox patriarch opposes plan to make Hagia Sophia a mosque

This is another bold statement by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. May the Lord protect and strengthen him.

CWN - Feb. 20, 2013 - Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople has staked out his opposition to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

Once the patriarchal basilica of Constantinople, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque when Muslims conquered the city [in 1453; Constantinople had been Christian for over a thousand years prior]. In 1935, Turkey’s government made the building a museum, as part of the secularizing campaign under the leadership of Kemal Ataturk. But today Turkey’s government, while professing the same secular principles, has supported a campaign to build new mosques and convert some historic buildings into mosques. A proposal to make the Hagia Sophia a mosque is now under consideration in the Turkish parliament. ''We want Santa Sofia to remain a museum,” said Patriarch Bartholomew. The Orthodox prelate said that if the museum is converted to any religious use, it should become a Christian church, since it was built for that purpose.

Related Story: Turkey reopening converted churches as mosques