Historic Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora Reopens as Mosque in Turkey

Historic Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora Reopens as Mosque in Turkey

OCP News Service – 09/05/2024

Constantinople – Turkey: The historic Chora Monastery, renowned for its breathtaking Byzantine mosaics, reopened its doors on May 06,2024, as a mosque after a four-year restoration project. President Erdogan addressed the ceremony virtually, officially converting the former orthodox church back into a place of Muslim worship.

The Chora Orthodox Church in Turkey Converted to Mosque

This move follows the controversial decision in 2020 to convert the Hagia Sophia, another iconic Byzantine church, into a mosque. The Chora Church, originally built in the 4th century, served as a monastery for centuries before the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. It was converted into a mosque in 1511 but became a museum in 1945.

The decision to reconvert the Chora Monastery has sparked criticism from religious leaders and cultural organizations around the world. Many view it as an erasure of Byzantine heritage and a challenge to the status of the site as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

While the Turkish government maintains the restoration project has preserved the priceless mosaics, some experts worry about the long-term impact on these artistic treasures under mosque use.

The reopening of the Chora Monastery as a mosque signifies a further shift in the religious landscape of Turkey and reignites tensions over the preservation of its historical and cultural heritage.

The Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora is a byzantine Orthodox church that was initially built in the 4th century by Constantine the Great. The Chora Church was converted into the Kariye Camii mosque in 1500. In 1945 its status was altered into a museum. In 2005, a petition was filed by the Association of Permanent Foundations and Service to Historical Artifacts and Environment to convert the Chora Church into a mosque. In 2019, the Turkish Council of State ordered its conversion to a Mosque and in August 2020 the change of status was ratified and implemented.

The Chora Church is situated in the Edirnekapı quarter (district of Fatih ) in Istanbul.

OCP News Service

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