The Seventh Ecumenical Council, the Second Council of Nicaea, held in the Aghia Sophia of Nicaea in 787, declared the orthodoxy of icons and images. It was the last meeting of all the world’s bishops that included representatives of both the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople, the leaders of Western and Eastern Christianity, respectively. The church was turned into a mosque when Islamic jihadists conquered Nicaea in the fourteenth century; then, like its more famous namesake in Constantinople, it was made into a museum by the secular Turkish regime. Now that Turkey is rapidly re-Islamizing, it is a mosque again. “Erdogan’s religious acrobatics: Nicaea council church back to being a mosque,” by NAT da Polis for Asia News, November 11 (thanks to C. Cantoni):
Istanbul (AsiaNews) – The specter of Aghia Sophia continues to plague the Islamic world of Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey. Not the most famous symbol of the church of Constantinople, but another church, Aghia Sophia in Nicaea (now Izmit), which predates the Constantinople church, having been built in the fourth century. It passed into history in 787 AD, when it was the last church to host a united Christendom drawn to discuss the iconoclastic question, in a truly ecumenical synod, before the fatal schism of 1024 [actually 1054 — ed.].
This Christian church, the Aghia Sophia in Nicaea (Izmit), was transformed into a mosque in 1331 by Orhan Gazi who led the Ottomans and which was later made a museum in 1920, has returned once again to being a mosque.
All that was needed was a directive from the Directorate General for Religious Affairs led by Mehmet Gormez, appointed by Erdogan instead of Ali Bardakoglu, the man behind the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Turkey, since retired. The move has elicited several considerations in Turkey and abroad in a period in which much importance and emphasis is placed on religious freedom. It is also noted that this decision by the Directorate for Religious Affairs, made in accordance with the Directorate General of Religious Foundations, to which the church of Aghia Sophia in Izmit belongs, is in complete contrast with the decisions of the Ministry of Culture in Ankara, which granted permission for religious celebrations in Christian monuments that have since been transformed into museums….