News by email Donate


Photo: Wikimedia
World News

Greece angry over Muslim prayers in Turkey Orthodox Cathedral

by Hannah Tooley

The United National world heritage site had been the world's largest Greek Orthodox Christian church in the world for almost 1,000 years and it is now used as a museum.

It sits opposite the Sultanahmet Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, and represents where religions meet in the capital city.

- Biggest Greek Orthodox Church for 1,000 years
- Became a mosque in 1453
- Converted to a museum in 1935
- Gained UN world heritage site status in 1985 

The Greek Foreign Ministry released a statement saying: "We condemn as regressive the Turkish authorities' announcement of the scheduling of a Koran reading in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, on the occasion of Ramadan.

"Obsessions, verging on bigotry with Muslim rituals in a monument of world cultural heritage are incomprehensible and reveal a lack of respect for and connection with reality."

The Koran recitals started at the beginning of the week to celebrate Ramandan - a period where Muslims fast - and are being broadcast on Turkish TV.

According to the International Business Times, the issue has been taken to the European Parliament and MEP Elissavet Vozemberg-Vrionidi has asked a question to the European Commission over the "conversion of Hagia Sophia, a symbol of Greek Christianity, into a mosque through the live telecast of Koran readings from the basilica."

It has been reported that the Greek minister wants to know whether the actions "constitute a lack of respect for Christians around the world".

She has also asked action to be taken to preserve the monument.

The Hagia Sophia served as a Christian church until the Ottomans made it a mosque when they took the city in 1453.

But the founder of modern Turkey turned it into a museum in 1935 and it was later made a UN world heritage site in 1985.

It has also been claimed that last week thousands of Muslim worshippers wanted to pray inside the building and an imam led prayer before calling for the Hagia Sophia to be restored as an Islamic place of worship.

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email