In the news recently, but not receiving much play in the U.S., is the move by the Turkish Government to convert Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey into a mosque. Here is an article that discusses it rather cursorily: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/prayers-held-hagia-sophia-mosque-075011042.html

It is a place held holy by many Christians, especially Orthodox Christians. It had been a museum for over eighty years when a secular government in Turkey converted it from a mosque to a museum. As a mosque it stood for nearly 500 years, since 1453. Before that it had been a an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral. It was built for that purpose in 537.

Hagia Sophia Mars 2013.jpg
By Arild Vågen – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24932378

What to think of it? This feels like one of those issues upon which whatever side you choose you are in the wrong. Knowing that it was a Cathedral for so long and built to that purpose mitigates toward giving the Orthodox faith the best claim, but there are very few in Turkey who would even attend an Orthodox service, so as a mosque it would certainly get more use. Does this give the Muslim faithful the priority here? It is after all in a country that is predominantly Muslim. After all the Greek government does not give Pagans control of the Parthenon in Athens.

I think it may have been best to simply leave Hagia Sofia as a museum so that it could be seen by all who would enjoy it for its history as well as its religious significance, with people wandering through, wondering at this marvelous work of humanity built for the glory of God.

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