Thursday, February 21, 2013

Orthodox Patriarch Opposes Hagia Sophia Returning to Mosque Status

Hat tip to JihadWatch.

The Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church has spoken out about the proposals of formerly secular Turkey to return Hagia Sophia to Mosque status. To protect their flock from  violence and other acts of oppression, those who have held this office traditionally held their tongues to avoid stoking the anger of Muslims. During one of the periods when Greeks fought for independence from the Ottomans, a Patriarch was hung on Easter as punishment for the acts of the freedom fighters.

Quoted in Jihad Watch:
"Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople has staked out his opposition to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

Once the patriarchal basilica of Constantinople, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque when Muslims conquered the city. In 1935, Turkey’s government made the building a museum, as part of the secularizing campaign under the leadership of Kemal Ataturk. But today Turkey’s government, while professing the same secular principles, has supported a campaign to build new mosques and convert some historic buildings into mosques. A proposal to make the Hagia Sophia a mosque is now under consideration in the Turkish parliament. ''We want Santa Sofia to remain a museum,” said Patriarch Bartholomew. The Orthodox prelate said that if the museum is converted to any religious use, it should become a Christian church, since it was built for that purpose."

This was a brave move. The West has conveniently swept the memory of the Eastern Churches and the Byzantine Empire under the rug. Leftists are quite fond of extolling the virtues of the "tolerant" Ottomans. It was they who stole from Christian communities both girls to serve as sex slaves in harems and boys to be, Stockholm syndrome-style, forcibly converted to Islam and to serve as shock troops for the Sultan. These slaves (Janissaries) were employed against their own people and (Former) coreligionists in the wars of Ottoman conquest. As is common with brainwashed children, they grew up to display a vicious attitude in war against those of the faith into which they were born. 

The Left detests national sovereignty, so they like massive empires. As Leftists can't stand Christianity, the Eastern (Byzantine)  Empire is naturally out of the question; that leaves the Ottoman Empire was their prime example of a well-run operation.
From a previous post of mine on this subject: 

After over 900 years as a Orthodox Christian Cathedral and seat of the Patriarchs of the Eastern Church, the grand work of Justinian and his master architects and builders was turned into a mosque following the sack of Constantinople. Few are aware of the pillaging, looting, rapine, and slave-taking that went on in Hagia Sophia once the walls of the city were breached. Mehmet, or Mahomet, is often referred to as allowing for the "customary" three-day period of looting upon the final failure of the city's defenses. Let's not ignore custom and tradition, now. Their sack probably made that of the Fourth Crusade look like high school kids having a night of mailbox baseball.

Picked clean of its gold, silver, people, and anything else of value to the Ottomans, the Icons, statuary, and anything that depicted a living creature were either removed and plastered over (after being severely scored to ensure a good bond for the plaster). The Church of the Holy Wisdom was now a Mosque. The building was to take on the look with which we are familiar - the four minarets surrounding it from which the the sound the American president referred to as "The sweetest sound in the world" would be heard until the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the founding of the nation of Turkey by Kemal Ataturk. Graciously, seemingly almost as an act of charity (sincere or not) the shell of Hagia Sophia became a museum.

The policies of Islamist Turkish Prime Minister's Tayyip Erdogan's party (And man! I was raised on how 'Western" and secular Turkey was - was of course being the operative word), like the Arab Spring praised by the left, are now also bearing fruit. Hagia Sophia is to again be a mosque.

Not that the West did not have its chances; the nations of Western Europe did pretty much all that they could to ensure the survival of the Ottoman state. Far from the Muslim victimisation-type claims (the old story of Europe ganging up on the poor declining Sultanate), Europe's far-sighted rulers happily encouraged them to attack other Christian nations like France did with Austria during the 1683 siege of Vienna. The British even brought the French into the Crimean War because, well, we can't have the Russians gaining full control of the Black Sea or taking Constantinople, that would give them an unfair advantage in the "Great Game". Catherine the Great had high hopes for John Paul Jones when the naturalized American was given a Rear Admiral's command - "He will get to Constantinople". But Russian selfishness iand intrigue among top officers caused him to be withdrawn from the Black Sea.

And today, we see more of the results of the Islamist resurgence that has pushed the secular Turkish army commanders aside. Muslims tend to be quite gleeful about taking over Christian houses of worship. In this case, Erdogan's boys get to act in the manner of "Well, you know that it was a great shame that Kemal remove so much of Islamic culture from our country, especially taking away our crowning achievement of the Aya Sofia (Hagia Sophia) Mosque. We will right that wrong and reestablish our rightful place as leaders in the Muslim world"

This time I would be surprised if the icons and other representations that did survive through the years and may have been brought back to public view (Lots of plaster would have had to be removed) during the museum period are not going to removed completely. If, to Erdogan, the Mosques are their barracks, then he is more than likely planning to ensure that the greatest of Turkey's barracks is not defiled by all of that horrendous Byzantine art.*

* I happen to love Byzantine art.

1 comment:

  1. I've been to Hagia Sofia and have personally experienced it's wonders. What the muslims did to it was a travesty. I can only imagine what it looked like while it was still a church.

    Thankfully, Ataturk did at least preserve what remains of the wonder. I have a feeling that if they turn it back into a mosque, all the Christian art will be destroyed. It will be like what the Taliban did to the Buddhist shrines in Afghanistan. The West will waggle its finger and let them get away with another.

    How long will it be before the Egyptian treasures are destroyed? Will they blow up the pyramids? Will they burn the Cairo museum? Will they destroy the wonders of Luxor and the Valley of the Kings? Will Abu Symbol be returned to Lake Nasser? Will we wag our fingers at these acts as well?

    First things first...we have a history in Turkey. As westerners we have a legitimate right to say what should be done with OUR history. The muslims have no right to blot it out.