Turkish President Erdogan converts Hagia Sophia into mosque, Christian leaders call for reversal

published on July 28, 2020

Turkish government converted the sixth century church of the uh aya sophia into a mosque one america's stephon kleinhenz has mourned the long history of that church and what christian leaders are saying about the move

Last week the turkish government converted the aya sophia into a mosque but this is just the latest in a century-old effort to oppress christianity citizens cheered in the streets of

Istanbul last week as turkish president recep tayyip erdogan issued a decree converting the 6th century byzantine church into a mosque but those who trace their roots to the sacred haiya sophia

Routes that run far deeper than that of the turkish nation-state and even deeper than that of islam itself they did not cheer they mourned the decision of president

Erdogan make us to feel angry make us to feel very upset i've been sick to my stomach for the last three days the church of the aya sofia was built in 537 during the byzantine empire

And served as the very center of christianity for centuries until 1453 when the ottoman turks sacked the city of constantinople and converted the church into a mosque the acropolis of christianity

But in 1934 the first president of the secular republic of turkey mustafa ataturk converted the highest sophia into a museum so it could be accessible to all people

And it served as such until last friday when the turkish government issued its second islamic conquest on the church of the holy wisdom president erdogan believes that

He is like the leader of muslims he is like someone that can really move on and continue the history of the sultans metropolitan gabriel is the bishop of the orthodox church in neo ionia greece a region where many

Greek refugees arrived in 1923 from the former ottoman empire due to the treaty of luzan i think it is a move it is an action that really

Embarrassed the islamic religion in the islamic tradition congressman gus biladakis represents florida's 12th district and he is also a greek orthodox christian who serves as co-chair

Of the house caucus on international religious freedom bilirakis says turkey has countless examples of religious freedom violations i've seen

That there is not religious freedom in turkey in spite of what erdogan says the turkish ambassador to the united states serdar helix and the turkish embassy here in the us

Told one american news in a statement it is important to note that haya sophia as a mosque will remain accessible to people of all faiths and visitors who cherish its heritage both metropolitan gabriel and

Congressman bilirakis disagree this is not the best way in order to respect the shrine the history of a year sophia let us perform a christian ceremony there

Not just one time but on the holidays if that's if they're real serious about that metropolitan gabriel says that christians in turkey have not been treated with mutual respect

I can give you so many examples of so many mosques in greece that they have never been reconverted into a mosque never not even once in history we are not people of paying back we are people of mutual respect mutual

Understanding or existence live in peace this is what we want congressman bilirakis calls on president erdogan to reverse the decision and said president trump and his administration are aware of the issue

I've spoken to the president about this and i i i believe that he's on our side with this and i spoke with the secretary pompeo over the weekend

And he's very saddened by this the aya sofia became a world heritage site protected by unesco in 1985 and ambassador altay singh geyser the permanent delegate of turkey to unesco and also the president of the 40th

Session of the general conference of unesco told one american news in a statement quote turkey is determined to protect the outstanding universal value of the property we also

Intensely believe that aya sophia is a shared cultural legacy and should be treated as such despite centuries of conquest and oppression the christians who trace their roots to the historic city

And the sacred church continue to hold on to its original and true nature no matter what the turkish government decides to call it yeah i had an opportunity to visit in 2019 and i had tears in my eyes if

You enter and if you see the frescoes if you see the iconography if you see the whole architectural uh shrine of this important monument from for the first time you will you

Will understand the significance the significance of christianity do you think haiya sophia will ever be a church again i hope i pray and i believe in god because this is its natural place

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