Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Turkish Authorities Considering the Reopening of Hagia Sophia for Christian Worship

The director of the state sponsored Islamic Research Center has made a new proposal toward reopening buildings for religious purposes.

Ankara [kath.net/KAP] In the newly burning conflict surrounding Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, a leading adviser of the Turkish Religious Office has proposed that the historical Church should be open for Muslim prayers on workdays and for Christian Liturgies on Sundays. This could go a long way to solving the tug of war surrounding the Hagia Sophia which won't just be a comprise, said Mehmet Akif Aydin, director of the State sponsored Research Center (ISAM), to "Zaman" (Tuesday). One such solution would also reinforce the bonds between Muslims and Christians and the readiness of both faith communities to coexist more peacefully.

Although the Hagia Sofia has not been used for more than 80 years for religious purposes, more recently attempts of Islamic and Christian groups have advocated prayers or religious services under her domes.

The Church, built in the Fourth Century was for a millennium, the most important Church in Christendom. After the sack of Constantinople in 1453 by the Ottomans it served another 500 years as the most important mosque in the Ottoman Empire.

In the Turkish Republic the building served as a cultural monument since 1934. In order to avoid inter religious conflict, it has been since then no longer permitted to be used for religious purposes -- neither Christian nor Muslim.

Copyright 2010 Katholische Presseagentur, Wien, Österreich Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

Read further, kath.net original, in German...

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Unknown said...

Whoever wrote this story sure doesn't know much about Islam or Muslim Turks.

Anonymous said...

I would posit that they don't know much about Orthodoxy either. I could be wrong, but I don't believe that a liturgy can be held in an unconsecrated building, and I don't believe that non-Orthodox (i.e. muslim) worship is allowed in a consecrated building.

Anonymous said...

Ray and Anonymous are bang-on. It will be a cold day in Buna, Texas when the Orthodox surrender to this wicked scheme.

-- Mack

Tancred said...

I don't think any of you know what the situation is.

The Turkish government is interested in becoming part of the EU, so they have to make nice with the Christians.

@Ray, I don't think the author was claiming to know anything about Islam, or that his authorship of the article demonstrate any knowledge of Islam. He's simply recording what's happening.

Turkish Christian said...

This sounds like a good idea.

Hopefully Turkish christians and moslems can show that they are grown up enough to share a building in the way suggested.

Turkey is a secular state and I believe that this can be made to work for all.

It would be an excellent example to the world how interfaith co-operation can benefit all.

The pope has prayed in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, so there is no reason why other christians cannot share a building with moslems.

I myself have prayed to Jesus in mosques. God is not a bigot and he will hear prayers wherever they are made and by whomsoever they are offered.