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The stones of the Hagia Sophia will still cry out

Turkey’s own version of “cancel culture” has been met with outrage and concern throughout the world.

A 2013 photo of the interior of the Hagia Sophia. (Image: Mark Ahsmann | Wikipedia)

As the highly emotional and equally unreasonable “cancel culture” spreads across the globe, it is worth recalling the words of the American diplomat and historian George F. Kennan (1904-2005): “Without a generation of civilized people to study history, to preserve its records, to absorb its lessons, and relate them to its own problems, history would lose its meaning.”

Those seeking to desecrate and destroy historic monuments know that marble and stone can be just as effective as the written word in preserving history in all its messiness and glory.

The Hagia Sophia is a glorious monument in stone to the Christian faith of the Byzantine Empire, responsible for building this absolute wonder of art and architecture. Turkey, a once secular republic and Western ally, has in recent years become a bastion of Islamist-nationalism nostalgic for the days of the Ottoman Empire under its current president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Erdoğan’s government has its own form of the “cancel culture” that has sought to erase the Christian heritage of Turkey. This comes in the form of a continual denial of the Armenian genocide, the destruction of over 500 churches in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, and the conversion of historic Byzantine churches across the country into mosques, while at the same time destroying the irreplaceable art within them.

There has long been a worry that this trend would inevitably lead to the Hagia Sophia, which is the most prominent reminder of Turkey’s Christian heritage. The globally famous landmark and popular tourist destination was built in the sixth century as a church before being converted into a mosque by the Ottomans in the fifteenth century and then into a museum in the twentieth century by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the secular-minded founder of the Turkish Republic.

In a decision orchestrated by Erdoğan, Turkey’s top court revoked the Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum on Friday and then minutes later he issued a presidential decree ordering it be transformed yet again into a mosque.

Built under Emperor Justinian in 537 on the site of a church commissioned by the emperor Constantine, founder of Constantinople, the Hagia Sophia was dedicated to the glory and honor of “Holy Wisdom” Who is the Logos, that is, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. It holds historic significance as the culminating feature of the Christian era of the Roman Empire and stands as a remarkable monument to artistic and architectural achievement. It took over 10,000 men and just under six years to build. When it was finished Justinian was said to have exclaimed: “Solomon, I have outdone thee.”

Its function as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople for nine centuries was only interrupted for a span of sixty years when, in 1204, the Fourth Crusade took one of the greatest and most tragic detours in military history. On the way to Jerusalem Crusaders were enticed into getting involved in a dispute between political factions of the Byzantine Empire. This led to their eventual sacking and widespread looting of Constantinople. The most famous reminder of this are the sculptures of the four horses from Constantinople’s hippodrome that now adorn the front facade of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. The Hagia Sophia became a Catholic cathedral and many of its treasures were looted and taken by the Crusaders back to Europe. The Byzantine’s were finally able to recapture the city in 1261.

The Hagia Sophia stood as the most prominent Christian church in the world from its construction under Justinian until until 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Ottomans and it was turned into a mosque. So impressive is this edifice that much Turkish architecture is largely modeled after it, including other prominent mosques. Islam’s aversion to images meant the Hagia Sophia’s mosaics, icons, and frescoes were either destroyed or plastered over. The integrity of the structure was altered as Islamic features were added, the most prominent of which are the tall minarets on the outside from which the Muslim call to prayer never ceased to issue forth even after it became a museum.

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War, Atatürk turned the Hagia Sophia into a museum in 1934. He did so for the for the purposes of conserving it as a monument of world heritage and so it could stand as a symbol of tolerance and peace. In becoming a museum where restorers and conservationists were granted ready access, much of the structure’s Byzantine mosaics were recovered. For the first time in nearly 500 years the light of day shone again on the glittering images depicting the Lord Jesus Christ and His Virgin Mother. For the past ninety years all visitors have been able gaze upon these symbols of the Christian patrimony and heritage of Turkey.

Turkey’s decision to change the status of the Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque again has been met with protest the world over. The strongest objections, understandably, have come from the Eastern Orthodox nations of Greece and Russia, but even the United States Secretary of State and some senators have weighed in. The current Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, is the heir to all those patriarchs before him who once sat in the Hagia Sophia. In Istanbul there is a little remnant of the Byzantine Empire in the neighborhood of the Phanar where his church and offices have been relegated. From there he has said, in part:

What can I say as a Christian clergyman and the Greek Patriarch in Istanbul? Instead of uniting a 1,500-year-old heritage we are being divided. I am saddened and shaken…we have survived for 17 centuries and we will stay here forever, as God wills.

It is not immediately clear how the Hagia Sophia’s change in status status will effect the monument. There is fear that its historic mosaics might be covered up again or destroyed. There is also concern that historians, conservationists, pilgrims, and tourists may be prohibited from entering or could have their access severely limited. Given the treatment of so many other churches by the Turks, these concerns are not unfounded.

Erdoğan’s move is obviously a provocative act meant to rally his Islamist-nationalist base. It is hurtful to see one of the greatest monuments of our Christian heritage used as a political ploy. It is upsetting to see any attempt made to erase the Christian heritage of a nation. Our hurt, however, should not lead to despondency. In Our Lord’s own day, the Pharisees tried to silence His disciples from singing His praises. The Lord responded to them by saying: “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” (Lk 19:40).

Whatever happens to the Hagia Sophia no one can erase the Truth that inspired its construction. No matter what any government decree says, the stones of the Hagia Sophia will still cry out. All who gaze upon this wonder of human ingenuity will still know the motivation behind its construction—the desire to proclaim the imperishable greatness of Jesus Christ.


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About Father Seán Connolly 40 Articles
Father Seán Connolly is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. He attended Saint Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, where he received a Bachelor of Sacred Theology as well as a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts. He currently serves as parochial vicar at the Parish of St. Joseph in Middletown, New York.

25 Comments

  1. We must teach our children to recapitulate these beautiful at works so that they do not become erased from collective memory.

  2. I was born orthodox, but I’m not a faithful person.
    However it seems to me terrible disturbing to hear no word from Pope regarding Church Sophia conversion into a moosque. I was deeply respectful for the Pope, far more respectful than for my obsolete former communist secret service linked orthodox patriarch.
    Maybe Pope Francis is to be blamed. Maybe Pope John Paul II, for which I had a huge respect, wouldn’t remain silent.
    However, now my respect is lost.
    I an simply stunned. And I begin to understand the unimaginable, I begin to understand how and why it was possible that you, the catholics, destroy Constantinople in 13th century.

    • History is a mixed bag and conspicuous silence (as today) is not golden. But for some details of 1204, yes, it was the high-watermark Pope Innocent III who called the Fourth Crusade—-soon so derailed sideways and so tragic to Christian unity. He was already disgusted with much of the behavior in earlier campaigns—“Christians in name only (he said) . . . these wretched Christians who betrayed one another, hated one another, and scandalized one another”— and once upon a time he even appealed to the Sultan of Aleppo (Christian-Islamic diplomacy!] to protect the Latin patriarch of Antioch from the also Christian prince of Tripoli.

      The crusade was lured/bribed off track to take sides in a local Byzantine (!!!) political intrigue in Dalmatia, thus supplementing Venetian finances to continue the voyage to Jerusalem. The ticked-off pope excommunicated [!] the entire expedition, but later lifted the ban because he still hoped for possible reunion in Constantinople between the Eastern and Western Churches.

      The later Muslim conquest over Istanbul in 1453, after some 800 years, was less consuming than the self-inflicted sacking of this Christian city in 1204 by Christian crusaders. Historians suggest that, but for the permanent weakening in 1204, Constantinople might never have fallen to Islam in 1453. And, from cosmopolitan Europe (bridges not boundaries) the largest siege cannon—-with a 27-foot barrel—-was built by a German engineer. And in the 18th century, Eastern relics hauled to now nation-state France were tossed into the Seine during the anti-Christian Reign of Terror.

      The beat goes on. Today Justinian’s cathedral is cross-dressed as a Mosque and globalist “religious pluralism” is in. As for Islam, the shrouds go up, but the mask comes off. Some critics, at least, will be amazed to learn here that some of us–“you the Catholics”–were actually not even in the cast at the time of the sacking in 1204. . .

      • Peter, thank you for being so forthright. Historically Hagia Sophia was destroyed not just once but three times due to internal rivalries. This is the fourth time it was built from grounds up.

        As for Muslims, they didn’t covert it to a mosque because they conquered the city, but because the sultan of that era personally paid cash from his own pocket the agreed upon amount in 1453. The details of this purchase are still in a Turkish museum. Please do share this bit as well so they know all of history.

        • The structure even now is NOT being built “from the ground up.” Instead, it’s being converted in use. Former PARTIAL REMODELS: the dome collapsed only five years after construction (6th century) and was replaced, and supporting piers also have been added to the exterior; the minarets were added after the conquest of 1453; and the cathedral was secularized (icons covered with plaster) under Ataturk.

          At the CONQUEST, between one hundred and three hundred thousand Muslims moved against a much smaller force of only seven thousand defenders spread thinly across several miles of city walls (virtually abandoned by the West). After the victory Mohammed II found it necessary to repopulate the city and guaranteed liberty of conscience to any returning Greeks. He RESTORED the city and even the patriarch who still was useful politically as an opponent to the tenuous Bull of Reunion (1439) between Rome and the Greek bishops.

          Any CASH PAYMENT for the cathedral would have been simply part of this overall program—following the conquest. (Selective Turkish histories also omit the Armenian Holocaust.)

          The eminent historian John Jules Norwich captures the eerie events of the LAST DAYS, and the FINAL MOMENTS in the cathedral itself (Byzantium: The Early Centuries, 3 volumes, 1988):

          “By now, too, the omens had begun. On 22 May [1453] there was a lunar eclipse; a day or two later, as the holiest icon of the Virgin was being carried through the streets in one last appeal for her intercession, it slipped from its platform. A few hundred yards further on, a violent thunderstorm caused the whole procession to be abandoned. The next morning the city was shrouded in fog, unheard-of at the end of May; the same night the dome of Santa Sophia was suffused with an unearthly red glow that crept slowly up from the base to the summit and then went out. The past phenomenon was also seen by the Turks in Galata; Mehmet himself was greatly disturbed, and was reassured only after his astrologers had interpreted it as a sign that the building would soon be illuminated by the True Faith. For the Byzantines, the meaning was clear: the Spirit of God itself had deserted their city.“

          On the final day the prayerful flock huddled INSIDE the cathedral:

          “Matins were already in progress when the berserk conquerors were heard approaching. Immediately the great bronze doors were closed; but the Turks soon smashed their way in. The poorer and less attractive of the congregation were massacred on the spot; the remainder was led off to the Turkish camps to await their fate.”

          • We find it easy to talk about others genocide even if it’s 100 years ago
            but ignore what is being done in our name in front of our eyes
            leaving aside any controversies
            upending the lives of countless times more.

            It’s always been easy to play the victim
            rather than be grateful
            or to be a leader willing to do the right thing in our life-time,
            easy enough to hide in self-pity
            and let pass our opportunity to do the right thing.

            Call to Godliness is just to feel good
            and then it’s time to go back to our heedlessness
            until the next time we need to SHOW.

        • “Constantinople fell to the attacking Ottoman forces on 29 May 1453. In accordance with the traditional custom at the time, Sultan Mehmet II allowed his troops and his entourage three full days of unbridled pillage and looting in the city shortly after it was captured. Once the three days passed, he would then claim its remaining contents for himself.[37][38] Hagia Sophia was not exempted from the pillage and looting and specifically became its focal point as the invaders believed it to contain the greatest treasures and valuables of the city.[39] Shortly after Constantinople’s defenses collapsed and the Ottoman troops entered the city victoriously, the pillagers and looters made their way to the Hagia Sophia and battered down its doors before storming in.[40] All throughout the period of the siege of Constantinople, the trapped worshippers of the city participated in the Divine Liturgy and the Prayer of the Hours at the Hagia Sophia and the church formed a safe-haven and a refuge for many of those who were unable to contribute to the city’s defense, which comprised women, children, the elderly and the sick and the wounded.[41][42] Being hopelessly trapped in the church, the many congregants and yet more refugees inside became spoils-of-war to be divided amongst the triumphant invaders. The building was significantly desecrated and looted to a large extent, with the helpless occupants who sought shelter within the church being enslaved[39] While most of the elderly and the infirm/wounded and sick were killed, and the remainder (mainly teenage males and young boys) were chained up and sold off into slavery.[40] The church’s priests and religious personnel continued to perform Christian rites, prayers and ceremonies until finally being forced to stop by the invaders.[40] When Sultan Mehmet II and his accompanying entourage entered the church, he insisted that it should be converted into a mosque at once. One of the ulama (Islamic scholars) present then climbed up the church’s pulpit and recited out the Shahada (“There are no gods but The God, and Mohammed is His servant and His messenger”), thus marking the beginning of the gradual conversion of the church into a mosque.[14][43] ” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagia_Sophia#Mosque_(1453%E2%80%931935)

          That’s the Wikipedia article. Since they allow editing, you really must go over and point out that none of that happened, it was all because Sultan Mehment II paid them an agreed-upon amount.

          • WP is often a good source for the reasons you mentioned but those reasons are also the cause of it’s biggest weakness. It’s best for it to be used as a quick look or a starting point for things one really cares about and especially controversies. Those special things should be one’s own quest to find.

            Whitewashing throughout history has removed mention of the purchase on the internet. You’ll read everywhere online that the Cathedral was turned into a mosque when CONSTANTINOPLE (not Hagia Sophia) was seized by Mehmet. They use clever words to imply that the mosque was also seized by speaking about it in direct reference to the city being seized but no website will explicitly say the HS was seized bc they know that’s factually untrue.

            This is what clever whitewashing is history looks like. They lead you to falsely believe that the mosque was seized too by manipulating words to create a negative narrative. The Turkish government to this day has the land/property purchase deed which is the basis for the recent court ruling to turn the museum back into a mosque bc those were Mehmet’s wishes.

            Here is a photo of the deed:
            https://twitter.com/Islamichistoryy/status/1282321654887014405/photo/2

    • The Son of David could speak of the upcoming destruction of the Jerusalem temple with much less grief than about what was coming for her people – ‘ how often have I yearned to gather you ..’
      Holy Father , of simple taste , probably well aware of the mercy The Lord has extended , through the history of all these divisions and rebellions all around , including the reported mention of the Icon of Hagia Sophia itself said to have been an erroneus Icon of The Lord as the ‘ She ‘ , the created wisdom that Solomon sings about , not the Face of The Father , the wisdom and power of The Lord and His Cross ..
      earthquakes very soon after its completion ..

      The revelations to Holy Apostles , mystics – they are shown much , that is in the timelessness of eternity , in vivid detail ..
      thus one day , His children would be shown it all , history and all too , in vivid detail ..
      True , the article , a reminder of our wounded natures and histories , to bring its oneness which the Holy Father reminds us often enough about , to plead for His mercy as His holiness , into all ..
      The seeming silence of the Holy Father , in oneness with The Spirit , grieving with his good friend , the Patriarch of Constantinople ..and that is likely far more powerful to undo the idols of greed and lust from where they need to be .

    • Dear Gabriel,

      It seems that Pope Francis heard your plea. Today after the Angelus, he expressed his sadness about Hagia Sophia:

      “E il mare mi porta un po’ lontano col pensiero: a Istanbul. Penso a Santa Sofia, e sono molto addolorato.”

      “And the sea carries me a bit farther in thought: to Istanbul. I think of Hagia Sophia, and I am deeply grieved.”

    • Gabriel there was a long history of Italian merchants living in Constantinople. Also some unfortunate moments of deadly strife. Nonetheless, Genoese and Venetians fought alongside Greeks against the Turks in 1453. Giovanni Giustiniani Longo a Genoese captain, member of the Republic of Genoa. He led 700 professional soldiers, both Genoese and Greeks from the island of Chios, which at the time was part of the Republic of Genoa, to the defense of Constantinople against the Ottoman army of Sultan Mehmed II in 1453. He personally financed, organized and led this expedition on his own initiative, and upon arriving was placed in command of the land defenses by Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos of the Byzantine Empire. Giustiniani was key in controlling the land forces and keeping the Greeks, Genoese and Venetians from quarrelling with each other, and instead kept focused on repairing the land walls after the Ottoman cannons had shot holes in them. It was at least partly because of Giustiniani’s charisma that the Byzantine forces were able to hold out so long against overwhelming odds. The Venetians sent two ships and 800 men in April 1453 CE, Genoa promised another ship, and even the Pope later promised five armed ships, but the Ottomans had by then already blockaded Constantinople. The once great Byzantine navy now consisted of a mere 26 ships, and most of those belonged to the Italian colonists [merchants] of the city. The Byzantines were hopelessly outnumbered in men, ships, and weapons (Ancient History Encyclopedia).

  3. A very fine summary of Hagia Sophia in world history. Fr. Connolly then writes: “It is not immediately clear how the Hagia Sophia’s change in status will effect [affect] the monument.” The LARGER QUESTION might be what this monumental change will affect the West. . .

    The until-recent commitment to a Turkish secular state with a Muslim culture was partly why Pope Benedict XVI, only a few years ago, regarded Turkey as a possible bridge between the West and the world of Islam. He also was quoted by a secular Turkish journalist:

    “The true contrariety which characterizes the world of today is NOT that among diverse religious cultures, BUT that between the radical emancipation of man from God, from the roots of life, on the one hand, and the great religious cultures on the other”(Cited by Mustafa Akyol, First Things, March 2007).
    But now, in our disjointed moment in history, we have BOTH: (a) in the West a putative polygon Church being groomed in Germany by a “binding synodal path” likely to undermine the most elementary tenets of both the Church and human morality, and (b) in Turkey the toppling of a secular/multicultural monument by a re-assertive Islam self-identified as the monotheistic pre-religion from before history (the “uncreated” Koran), and divinely appointed to engulf all other (later) religions including Christianity (the Triune God and the incarnation of the “eternal” Son in, but not of history).

    Where, then, is ROME—halfway between Amazonia’s pre-Christian and nude Pachamama, and Erdogan/Muhammad’s post-Christian and now icon-shrouded mosque on the Bosporus? A globalist Church adorned with fig-leaf “religious pluralism”?

    But, on the bright side, at least vacuous MODERNITY finds itself back the 7th century, or maybe the 11th or the 15th. It is admissible to soberly question the flat-universe ideology of periodized history inevitably moving in only one direction—ever “forward” toward Secularism and its “radical emancipation of Man from God.”

    An angelic and timeless resonance as together the martyrs and the stones cry out.

  4. As one who has stood in awe in the Haga Sophia, I have to agree with the author. This was originally a Church.

  5. From Hagia Sophia: World Council of Churches appeals to Turkey on mosque decision:

    Unesco expressed deep regret at the move and called for Turkey to open dialogue “without delay.”

    The head of the Eastern Orthodox Church has condemned the move.

    Greece, home to many millions of Orthodox followers, called it an “open provocation to the civilised world”.

    The Church in Russia, home to the world’s largest Orthodox Christian community, immediately expressed regret that the Turkish court had not taken its concerns into account when ruling on Hagia Sophia.

    And Turkey’s most famous author, Orhan Pamuk, told the BBC: “There are millions of secular Turks like me who are crying against this but their voices are not heard.”

  6. On this Feast Day of St.Benedict , we have reasons to rejoice with all our Father figures, in heaven and here as well , including with Pope Emer. Benedict ..
    Good news about the issues that keep the divisions being healed ..
    https://aleteia.org/2020/07/07/major-obstacles-to-unity-with-orthodox-are-resolved-whats-left-interview/
    The differing perspectives about the Immaculate Conception and Dormition would seem minor points , the oneness in seeing the truth in same , as means to be set free from unholy soul ties , pacts and its effects , to bring the blessings of freedom from greeds and fears , for more focus on caring for the poor and needy world over that can be done in oneness with many, the dream that our Holy Father too shares and The Church having been always the leader in same .

    Such Godly wisdom – what the stones of the Church of Holy Wisdom too awaiting ..

  7. Well, I’d hate to see any historic mosaics from the original church destroyed but I’m puzzled why restoring a place of worship back to its most recent form of worship is so offensive?
    I’m a deeply conservative Christian and I’m always dismayed to hear about churches turned into art centers, restaurants, or other secular use. Why is that different in this case for a former mosque? I understand it was originally a church but we have Catholic churches that usurped the original pagan places of worship.
    Conservatives applaud Hungary for returning to Christian values and preserving their unique history and culture. Why doesn’t it work the same way for Turkey?
    The Ottoman Empire was imperfect but most other societies back then were as well. And that continues on …

    • Thank you for being consistence. I will also try to emulate your principled stand more.

      To take their side for a second, I assume it might have to do with its beauty and the rich history and, for some, a quick political score as I suspect Turkey’s politicians are doing. The full story is hard to find in our charged environment. I hope to visit Turkey someday soon and visiting here is on my list.

      Your point is correct: It was a Mosque for 460 years before it was converted to a museum for the past 100 years. Also, in Europe where churches are sitting idle, they end up becoming bars or worse because no one is paying for their upkeep or the taxes. I remember a church in Pittsburgh (if my memory serves me correctly) was turned into a well known Mexican restaurant. Which at the time I thought was strange. Having someone cherish the abandoned buildings as a place of worship should be a welcome alternative.

      I would suggest those who are concerned about lack of attendance to educate the public about what religion stands for and the false promises of today’s self-proclaimed rationalists; I might join in too.

  8. An example of the Holy Father , exercising his primacy , of being a true Servant in humility , waiting for those who are more directly impacted , to have occasion for their opinions to be heard , before drowning out same , with his words –
    https://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-francis-expresses-sadness-after-hagia-sophia-is-declared-a-mosque
    The blessings and memories related to the occasion of the above visit , may The Holy Spirit help to bring forth wise decisions in line with what has been bestowed from The Father , in the fidelity of the Holy Father for his priestly role for the world at large .
    May the blessings of St.John Paul 11 , the fruit of his sufferings too at the hands of a native of the land , bring forth the fruits of The Consecration for all through these and all other lands as well , to help live in the God given dignity for all .
    Immaculate Heart of Mary , pray for us all .

  9. Pope Francis washed the feet of Muslim Women on Holy Thursday. The Roman Catholic Church in Istanbulhas 7 priests and we can not let one die for the Turkish government will not allow a successor. islam and Christianity are not compatible.

    • https://www.thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/novena/fourthday
      ‘bring them to Me ..’
      Being not astute enough in theology , to see well enough some of the areas of concern expressed by some with regard to the above incident , very likely that the Holy Father , in fidelity to his role as the Servant of Servants , in the area of bringing His holiness to many , could have done what he did , with a different lense , even making reparation for the contempt and injustice towards women / mothers in our times ..
      heeding the words of the Angel of Peace , at Fatima –
      ‘Penance ..penance ..penance ‘ ‘
      Peace !

  10. INSIGHTFUL (July 12, 6:41 p.m.) You are understandably offended by an insult, but NOTHING IN MY SEPARATE ACCOUNT, above (that Hagia Sophia was seized AS PART OF the conquest) is erased or reversed by the later paperwork you supply. My second quote continues:

    [ABOVE] “Matins were already in progress when the berserk conquerors were heard approaching. Immediately the great bronze doors were closed; but the Turks soon smashed their way in. The poorer and less attractive of the congregation were massacred on the spot; the remainder was led off to the Turkish camps to await their fate.

    “[THEN] The priests continued with the Mass until they were KILLED AT THE ALTAR, but there are among the faithful those who still believe that one or two of them gathered up the patens and chalices and mysteriously disappeared into the southern wall of the sanctuary. There they will remain until Constantinople becomes once again a Christian city, when they will resume the service at the point at which it was interrupted [….]

    “Sultan Mehmet had promised his men the three traditional days of looting, but there were no protests when he brought it to a close the same evening. By then there was little left to plunder, and his soldiers were fully occupied sharing out the loot and enjoying their captives. In the late afternoon, accompanied by his chief ministers, his imams and his bodyguard of Jannissaries, he rode slowly to St. Sophia. Dismounting outside the central doors, he picked up a handful of earth which, in a gesture of humility, he sprinkled over his turban; then he ENTERED THE GREAT CHURCH. As he walked towards the altar, he STOPPED one of his soldiers whom he saw hacking at the marble pavement; looting he told him, did not include the destruction of public buildings. At his command the senior imam mounted the pulpit and PROCLAIMED the name of Allay, the All-Merciful and Compassionate: there was no God but God and Mohammed was his Prophet. The Sultan touched his turbaned head to the ground in prayer and thanksgiving. St. Sophia was NOW A MOSQUE” (Byzantium: The Early Centuries, 1988, CAPS added).

    Shi’ite Muslims await the return of the twelfth Mahdi (disappeared 873 A.D.); some crusaders awaited the similar return of (also 9th century) Charlemagne; some Christians (above) still await the emergence of the 15th century “slaughtered” priests in Hagia Sophia; AND some selective/revisionist historians hold that a later real estate deal (like the Koran?) absorbs and erases earlier history.

6 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. The “Mosquing” of Hagia Sophia: Why should Catholics care? – Catholic World Report
  2. The “Mosquing” of Hagia Sophia: Why should Catholics care? - Catholic Daily
  3. {bits & pieces} ~ Like Mother Like Daughter
  4. Historian debunks faulty analogy between the Hagia Sophia and Cathedral of Cordoba – Catholic World Report
  5. Historian debunks faulty analogy between the Hagia Sophia and Cathedral of Cordoba - Catholic Daily
  6. Historian debunks faulty analogy between the Hagia Sophia and Cathedral of Cordoba - Catholic Mass Search

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