Hagia Sophia to become a mosque again?
August 30, 2013
Rumors are circulating in Turkey that the renowned Hagia Sophia will be converted into a mosque, the AsiaNews service reports.
The Hagia Sophia—once the cathedral of St. Sophia in Istanbul—was used as a mosque after the Islamic conquest of what is now Turkey. The secular republic founded by Ataturk converted the building to a museum. But as the country veers closer to Islam, several buildings that were once Christian churches have been converted again to Islamic houses of worship. Among them: the Hagia Sophia in Nicea, scene of the ecumenical council that wrought the Nicene Creed.
The secular status of the Hagia Sophia was a contentious item when Pope Benedict XVI visited Istanbul in 2006. Pope Benedict toured the building, but did not repeat the dramatic and controversial gesture of Pope Paul VI, who fell to his knees in prayer there during a visit in 1967.
- Persistent rumours suggest Hagia Sophia will be turned into a mosque (AsiaNews)
- Pope visits, prays at Istanbul mosque (CWN, 11/30/06)