This is a pipe dream, but then again…the Hagia Sophia as an Islamized museum stands as the foremost monument to dhimmitude and the appropriation of the conquered peoples’ culture and history by Islam. If Turkey is really serious about adopting European values as a prelude to EU membership, let the Turks make this gesture of recognition of the equality of dignity of people of all religions.
Of course, they do not need to do this, because the Europeans will most likely let them into the EU without calling them to account in any effective way.
From the Hagia Sophia blog, with thanks to Sparta:
If you believe in the just case that Hagia Sophia should be restored to its proper religious role as a church, for which it was built in the first place, then we ask you to support our petition to the EU Parliament that Turkey should not be admitted as a member of the European Community until it restores Hagia Sophia to its original purpose as a church and not a museum.
We need a minimum of 1.000.000 signatures in order to force the European Union to consider this proposal seriously and debate it immediately as one of the conditions to allow Turkey to be admitted as a new member of the EU.
As you know, Turkey is doing everything it can today to convince the European Union that it is a worthy country to join it. If you agree with us that Turkey should not be admitted to the EU before restoring justice to Hagia Sophia, please click on “Your Signature” and send us your message.
We would be grateful if you could also tell your friends about this site and its purpose.
Angeliki Papagika and partners
Hagia Sophia is not a public building that changed ownership with the conquest of a war. Hagia Sophia is a place of God, Christendom’s grandest place of worship for over 900 years, and arguably the most perfect and beautiful church that has been erected by any Christian people. The splendour of its overall effect, its “paradise-like” beauty and architectural brilliance were often comprehensible only in terms of repeated divine intervention.
The magnificence, spirituality and prestige of the Great Church led to its being appropriated as an imperial and religious symbol by the Ottoman sultans. The church of Christ was possessed and converted into a mosque, until it was decreed a museum. During this long time, it has been subjected to more than its fair share of abuse and denigration.
Hagia Sophia, an essential element of Christianity, a second Jerusalem, the most revolutionary and daring church conceived in Christendom, has been turned into a museum considerably impaired by the loss of all its Christian furnishings and much of its original setting and atmosphere. At present it is part of an increasingly elaborate area of monuments, museums, and rug and souvenir shops. The Great Church, transformed into a monument/museum without life”¦The conquest of war does not and cannot change its spiritual nature into a civil-cultural-secular institution. For as long as the injustice done to the soul of Hagia Sophia is ignored and forgotten Christianity cannot be whole. Hagia Sophia’s reason for existing is vitally important to restoring religious integrity.
It is a disgrace and disrespect to a religion and god when holy places are unwillingly turned purely into tourist attractions. How would the Muslims feel if one of their holiest places was turned into a museum for tourists by a conquering power?
With its conversion into a museum in 1934, Hagia Sophia was frozen in some past age, vaguely Byzantine. Directed by the then historicist paradigm that saw the past as unchanging, Hagia Sophia was also understood through the aesthetic of the great museum, that is, aloof and imposing. Both traits were useful to a Turkish government that wanted to break with the Ottoman era that lasted until after World War I. The church of Heavenly Wisdom became thus what the official Turkish act of secularisation called a “unique architectural monument of art” and hence was valued more for its age, art and historical value than for its practical and religious use.