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Global Outrage As Erdogan Orders Historic Hagia Sophia Church To Reopen As Mosque

Russian church leader decries: “A threat to Hagia Sophia is a threat to the entire Christian civilization.”

On Friday Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that for the first time in nearly a century the historic Hagia Sophia church would be reopened as a mosque, sparking fury and outrage from Greece, Russia, and other East European predominantly Orthodox Christian countries.

Earlier this week as multiple countries and Christian religious leaders lodged formal protest over the plans, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill warned that “A threat to Hagia Sophia is a threat to the entire Christian civilization.”

Considered an architectural marvel and the top tourist attraction in Turkey, the 6th century building constructed under Byzantine emperor Justinian has been a museum ever since a 1934 presidential decree, which a Turkish court annulled Friday. But it remains the symbolic heart for half the Christian world, namely the Eastern Orthodox Church.

According to the WSJ:

In a ruling issued Friday via the official Anadolu news agency, the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, canceled a decades-old decision under which Hagia Sophia—originally a Byzantine cathedral then an Ottoman mosque—was transformed into a museum.

Friday’s ruling effectively returned the building to a place of Islamic worship, Turkish law experts said, the status it had after the Ottomans conquered Constantinople, as Istanbul was previously known, in the mid-15th century.

The move is broadly seen as part of Erdogan’s continuing program of reversing secularization in politics and the public sphere in favor of a more conservative Islamic face to modern Turkey.

The WSJ underscores that “By returning Hagia Sophia to a home for Muslim prayer, Mr. Erdogan moved closer to fulfilling his longtime pledge of making more room for Islam inside the secular republic, and showed that he still has control over the destiny of Istanbul, even after his ruling party suffered a stinging defeat in last year’s local elections.”

Greece slammed the move as an “open provocation to the civilized world” while Orthodox Church leaders decried it as an open attack on the world’s 300 million Orthodox adherents. “The nationalism displayed by Erdogan… takes his country back six centuries,” Greece’s Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said on Friday.

Erdogan however, has interpreted it more simply as a matter of “asserting Turkey’s sovereignty” over the site. Turkey argues that it can legally do what it wants with monuments and historic places within its sovereign territory.

Mike Pompeo has even weighed in on the side of the Greek government, urging that it be kept as a museum. “We urge the government of Turkey to continue to maintain the Hagia Sophia as a museum, as an exemplar of its commitment to respect Turkey’s diverse faith traditions and history, and to ensure it remains accessible to all,” the US Secretary of State said within the last weeks.

It’s but one more symbolic provocation, albeit a serious one further worsening Greece-Turkey relations, and risking Moscow’s wrath as well.

Meanwhile, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople – who represents the Orthodox Church and its some 300 million adherents worldwide, is still in residence in Istanbul. He and his predecessors have been barred from using Hagia Sophia as a place of prayer since the 15th century, though over the years there’s been a few provocative instances where Greek clergy were said to have stealthily entered the now museum to “illegally” conduct Christian worship.

Recent protests by Turkish Islamist groups outside Hagia Sophia have witnessed people chanting: “Let the chains break and open Hagia Sophia” for Muslim prayers, and now Erdogan is making good on that demand.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/global-outrage-erdogan-orders-historic-hagia-sophia-church-reopen-mosque

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Olivia Kroth
July 12, 2020

This is the fourth article about this topic within two days. Are there no other news worthy of being printed?

John Ellis
Reply to  Olivia Kroth
July 12, 2020

The latest battle between the three greatest religions on earth,
what could be more news worthy?

Olivia Kroth
July 12, 2020

“Global outrage”? Really? How does Zerohedge define the globe? Russia is not outraged, China is not outraged, North Korea is not outraged, Iran is not outraged, Cuba is not outraged, Venezuela is not outraged – and most Islamic countries are not outraged either. All of these numerous countries are not situated on the Moon or Mars, they are to be found on the earth globe.

John Ellis
Reply to  Olivia Kroth
July 12, 2020

Surely you know that virtually all Christians and Jews are outraged, as the intense competition between the three great religions is the evil they love to perpetuate.
Surely, nothing but evil confusion do you generate by your fiction.

Olivia Kroth
Reply to  John Ellis
July 12, 2020

No, John, I do not know about any Jews being “outraged” at all. In fact, all the Jews that I know, including myself, are quite a happy lot.

Paul Martin
Paul Martin
Reply to  Olivia Kroth
July 12, 2020

There are undoubtedly Jews (as well as non-Jews) who confuse smugness and self-flattery with happiness. So you wouldn’t be the first…

Olivia Kroth
Reply to  Paul Martin
July 13, 2020

Yes, Paul. To me, smugness, self-flattery and happiness are all the same. They go hand in hand I flatter myself to be good-looking and intelligent. I am smug about it. And this makes me happy. We Jews are quite a materialistic lot. Not as ascetic and “spiritual” as those holier-than-thou Christians.

John Ellis
July 12, 2020

WHAT IS GOOD? — WHAT IS EVIL? In the real world, everything is either good or evil. For good is life and all things harmless that sustain life. For evil is death and all things like sin that cause harm and lead to death. For capitalism and socialism are both evil, as they use the deadly force of government to create a civil war between the upper-half of society who hoard all the wealth and the 50% working-poor who have never experienced the evil pleasure of owning wealth. For wealth is evil, as wealth is the source of all power and glory. As wealth is… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
Reply to  John Ellis
July 12, 2020

Although I really cannot say what is good, I will give you a plus point, just to counteract all the minus givers that you and I keep dragging on our trails. In Germany, the aristocracy had their own personal “Hofstaat”, accompanying them, wherever they went. Here we have our own “Hofstaat” as well, following us, wherever we go …. The maximum of minusses I collected on one single comment, was 16. Maybe I can get the number up to 20 soon? What is your maximum of minusses, John?

Last edited 27 days ago by Olivia Kroth
Olivia Kroth
July 22, 2020

Many mosques, built and used by Muslims in Spain, were either converted into Christian Churches or destroyed. These are the three largest ones: The Mosque of Cordoba, built in the 8th century, was converted into a church in 1236. The Mosque of Toledo, built in 999, was converted into a church in 1186. The Mosque in Jerez, built in the 11th century, was converted into a church in the 13th century. The following mosques in Spain were completely destroyed and Christian chruches built on top of the sites: the Mosques of Zaragoza, Madrid, Granada, Guadix, Alfacar and many smaller ones,… Read more »

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