Turkish official wants Hagia Sophia to become mosque; Greece reacts sharply
Catholic World News - November 21, 2013
Bülent Arinç, Turkey’s deputy prime minister, said that the famed Hagia Sophia church in Istanbul should again become a mosque – prompting a sharp reaction from Greece’s foreign ministry.
Dedicated in 537, Hagia Sophia served as the cathedral of the Patriarch of Constantinople until 1453, when the city fell to Ottoman Turks. It then served as a mosque until 1935, when the secularizing Turkish President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk made it a museum.
“Recurrent statements made by high ranking Turkish officials about converting Byzantine Christian churches into mosques are offending the religious feeling of millions of Christians,” the Greek foreign ministry said in a statement.
The Turkish government replied that it had “nothing to learn” from Greece about religious freedom, Agence France-Presse reported. “Unfavorable treatment of Ottoman-era cultural artifacts and places of worship by Greece is well known by all,” the government said in a statement.
99.8% of Turkey’s 80 million residents are Muslim.
An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:
Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!
Progress toward our September expenses ($15,618 to go):
All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!