Turkish President converts former Byzantine church into a mosque

Erdogan

On Friday, the Turkish government converted a former Byzantine church into a mosque. This decision comes after Istanbul’s landmark Hagia Sophia was also turned into a Muslim house of prayer, in July.

The decision to turn the former Byzantine Church, by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was published in the country’s Official Gazette.

The Church of St. Saviour in Chora, is known as Kariye in Turkish and was handed to Turkey’s religious authority.

Like the Hagia Sophia, the church operated as a museum for decades.

Following the decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque, Pope Francis said he was hurt by Turkey’s decision to make Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia museum a mosque.

The World Council of Churches had called on Erdogan to reverse his decision and Patriarch Bartholomew, the Istanbul-based spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, called it disappointing.

Erdogan said the nearly 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia, which was once a Christian cathedral, would remain open to Muslims, Christians and foreigners.