Hagia Sophia mosque conversion under fire

ISTANBUL – 5/9/13

The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate released a statement criticizing the possible reconversion of the Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul into a mosque.

The statement said that there was a possibility of the “church-turned-mosque-turned-museum” in Istanbul being reconverted into a mosque, as two previous cases of Hagia Sophia churches that were recently in İznik and Trabzon.

“There are now indications that certain factions are endeavoring to cultivate in popular opinion the notion that Haghia Sophia of Istanbul, the symbol of Christian faith, should be turned into a mosque,” said the statement released by the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle that was written by Nikolaos Manginas.

The statement recalled that a Turkish citizen had submitted an application a few months ago to the National Assembly for the conversion of the Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate also criticized an article published in the official magazine of Turkish Airlines, Skylife, in August 2013, which was titled, “Hagia Sophia: The Sultans’ Mosque,” and which mentioned the return of the museum into its former “spiritual aura,” referring to its days of serving as a mosque.

The statement further said said that the article presented the history from a one-sided point of view and that it was not acceptable.

“The selective presentation of the Church’s true history, a history that transformed nations and cultures, is unacceptable,” the Ecumenical Patriarchate added.

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