Turkey signs decree converting Hagia Sophia into a Mosque
Russian Orthodox Church regret Turkey’s decision
Istanbul : A top Turkish court has revoked the Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum, clearing the way for it to be reconverted into a Mosque. Founded 1,500 years ago as a Cathedral Church, but the Ottomans made Hagia Sophia a Mosque. In 1934 it become a museum.
The Council of state, which was debating a case brought by a Turkish religious organisation, on Friday, cancelled a 1934 cabinet decision and ruled the sixth century building would be reopened to Muslim worship.
Turkish court said in ruling “It was concluded that the settlement deed allocated it is a Mosque and its use outside this character is not possibly legally. The cabinet decision in 1934 that ended its use as a Mosque and defined it as a museum, did not comply with laws “
Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signed a decree converting Hafia Sophia in Istanbul into a Mosque.
Hagia Sophia is a UNESCO world heritage site. The UN body urged Turkey not to change its status without discussion.
The head of the Eastern Orthodox Church has condemned the proposal, as has Greece- home to many millions of Orthodox followers.
More over, the Russian Orthodox Church on Friday said it regretted that a Turkish court did not take its concerns into account when ruling that Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia being a museum was unlawful, the TASS news agency reported.
It said the decision could lead to even greater divisions.
Hagia Sophia or ‘Divine Wisdom’ in Greek , was completed in 537 by Byzantine Emperor Justinian.
The vast domed structure overlooked the Golden horn harbor and entrance to the Bosphorus from the heart of Constantinople. It was the centre of Orthodox Christianity and remained the world’s largest church for centuries .