Turkey Converts Chora Church Into Mosque

By Jules Gomes, ChurchMilitant.com, August 21, 2020:

Turkey has issued a presidential decree ordering the conversion of the nation’s best-known Byzantine monastic church into a mosque.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan published the executive order Thursday sealing the fate of the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora, Istanbul, a month after Turkey’s top court delivered a unanimous verdict declaring the basilica of Hagia Sophia a mosque.

The decree, printed in the National Gazette, transfers “the administration of the Kariye Mosque [Chora Church] to the Directorate of Religious Affairs [Diyanet].”

In accordance with Article 35 of law No. 633 on the Presidency of Religious Affairs it orders the opening of the “mosque for [Islamic] worship.”

Erdoğan’s diktat overturns an earlier ruling of the Council of Ministers from April 23, 1945, which had directed the ancient monastic church to be used as a museum and warehouse.

The executive order formally implements the change in the church’s status, which was passed in Dec. 2019 by a decision of Turkey’s Council of State.

Pope Francis’ ‘Signal Failure’

Speaking to Church Militant, renowned Islamic historian Robert Spencer stressed that the conversion of Hagia Sophia and now the Chora Church into mosques demonstrated the “signal failure” of Pope Francis’ pact with the world’s highest-ranking Sunni Muslim leader Ahmad al-Tayyeb.

“Anyone could have predicted this monumental fiasco from the moment Pope Francis and al-Tayyeb signed the deal in February 2019,” Spencer asserted.

“The document on human fraternity that the pontiff signed with the Sheikh of al-Azhar and is now aggressively pushing upon the Catholic Church states that ‘the protection of places of worship — synagogues, churches and mosques — is a duty guaranteed by religions, human values, laws and international agreements,” Spencer quoted.

“The document did not and could not eradicate Islam’s supremacist doctrines and long tradition of the appropriation of the houses of worship of other faiths to demonstrate the victory and supremacy of Islam,” the author of 21 books on Islam explained.

“One cannot help but wonder if al-Tayyeb was having a little joke at Francis’ expense by including in the human fraternity document the stipulation that ‘every attempt to attack places of worship or threaten them by violent assaults, bombings or destruction is a deviation from the teachings of religions as well as a clear violation of international law,’” Spencer remarked.

Spencer noted that “any mention of the forcible seizure of the places of worship of one faith by the aggressive and supremacist adherents of another was conspicuous by its absence” in the human fraternity document.

“That is not condemned in the document — which is not to say that it would have made any difference if it had been. And now that appropriation proceeds apace,” he lamented….

Read on at Church Militant

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