Monday, August 24, 2020

Turkey Decrees that a Chrisitan Church Turned Museum Will Now Be a Mosque

Mosaic of the Enthroned Christ and the Donor, Theodore Metochites above the entrance to the naos of the Kariye (Chora) Museum, Istanbul. Photo: Brad Hostetler (Creative Commons via Flickr)
President Erdogan of Turkey issued a decree to allow the Kariye (Chora) Museum to be used as a mosque. The structure, originally the Church of Christ in the Chora Monastery, is decorated with frescoes that are considered masterpieces of Byzantine art. After the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, the church was converted into a mosque; in 1945, it was declared a national monument. The move follows the ruling in November 2019 by the country’s top administrative court that the use of the building as a museum was unlawful on the grounds that it violates the Ottoman decree dedicating it to Muslim worship. The latest decree in turn follows one issued last month transferring the Hagia Sophia to the Religious Affairs Directorate and allowing it to be used as a mosque. [More]