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A Fener Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate spokesman announced that they
do not favor the idea of Hagia Sophia in Trabzon opening for prayers.  Hürriyet photo

A Fener Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate spokesman announced that they do not favor the idea of Hagia Sophia in Trabzon opening for prayers. Hürriyet photo

Vercihan Ziflioğlu Vercihan Ziflioğlu vercihan.ziflioglu@hurriyet.com.tr

The Fener Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate supports the continued use of the historical Hagia Sophia in Trabzon as a museum, not as a mosque.

“As is known, Trabzon is not urgently in need of a mosque, and it is also known that there is no Orthodox community there. The best way is to keep the church as a museum,” Dositheos Anagnostopulos, the Patriarchate’s press officer told the Hürriyet Daily News in a phone interview yesterday.

The Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate holds annual ceremonies in the Sümela Monastery in Trabzon province with a special permit issued by the Ministry of Culture.

Asked whether the Patriarchate would demand to hold ceremonies in Hagia Sophia as well, Anagnostopulos said that if the ministry permitted it and the Orthodox community desired it, this would be their duty, not only a desire.

The Foundations Directorate had announced Feb. 4 that the Hagia Sophia in Trabzon would soon be opened up for prayers.

Foundations Directorate Head Adnan Ertem said five of the seven Hagia Sophias nationwide were currently functioning as mosques, but two were still inactive, adding that the culture minister was the “occupying force” in the decision to reopen Trabzon’s Hagia Sophia.

“We have won the court case regarding the situation,” Ertem said. “We are planning to open the place for prayers again after the necessary processes are completed.”

The Hagia Sophia Museum was first dedicated as an Orthodox patriarchal basilica in 360 A.D. Until the year of 1453 it served as the Greek Patriarchal cathedral of Constantinople. Following the city’s conquest by the Ottoman Empire, the building was converted into a mosque in 1453 and remained so until 1931, when it was closed to the public for four years. It was reopened by the republican authorities in 1935 as a museum.

February/07/2013

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ismail demir

2/9/2013 3:41:49 AM

kio, just searching minutes in net Aga mosque in kavala turned to church. Even there is a book writen by Lowry, Lowry showed pictures of many mosques turned to churchs in greece at the TV program .

constantinos kio

2/7/2013 10:45:16 PM

@ mr demir . noone at all you cant transform a moscue to a greek orthodox church . greek orthodox church have a spesial division and architecture .

DutchTurk JANICAR

2/7/2013 7:35:19 PM

Instead of being empty it can better be used for worship.

Kevin Snapp

2/7/2013 6:32:59 PM

With no need for a mosque, the only reason for using it for Muslim prayers is to show Muslim supersession of Christianity, efface the history of Christianity in Turkey, or both. Pride in Islam and Turkey's Muslim culture does not require showing contempt for Christianity. The question is not whether Turkey is a Muslim country -- it undoubtedly is -- but what being a "Muslim country" means.

mara mcglothin

2/7/2013 4:25:21 PM

VARGEN Once again that ATATURK was a man before his time. I surely do wish he was around today. He was truly wiser than his years. With all the more pressing matters, why is this such an issue now?

ismail demir

2/7/2013 3:58:19 PM

1923 property change agreement between Turkey and Greece includes properties of churchs and mosques too.That is why many mosques in Greece used as churchs today after destroyed their minarets.Hagia Sophia belongs to Turkey by legal agreement with Greece.

constantinos kio

2/7/2013 3:10:37 PM

seams that we build great moscues . four old othoman moscues here in my city and noone work as church now. just we restore and keep them cause its part of our cities history . and for sure we dont make money from them .why so much love for our buildings ?

Vargen Vargen

2/7/2013 11:53:16 AM

In general the museum idea is good. Atatürk was a wise man who realized that it was a way of showing respect to both faiths.

Peter Lambson

2/7/2013 7:07:04 AM

Why do they need to pray in a church at all? More to the point, why would they want to? Are there not already thousands of mosques in Turkey, or is this just about the conqueror praying in the defeated's house of worship to show who's the boss? If that's the case, it shows how insecure Turkey still is about its own history, which it should be until it confronts it openly and honestly.

Can Oz

2/7/2013 4:28:08 AM

Of course it should remain as museum. For those Turks who don't appreciate Anatolia's Christian history, just think of the $$$ and € € € that will come from Christian tourists.
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