Istanbul, August 21, 2020
Following the reconversion of the famous Agia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul into a mosque last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ordered the conversion of another iconic Orthodox Church in the city into a mosque today, reports Hurriyet Daily News.
The Turkish Council of State, which recently approved the conversion of Agia Sophia, initially approved the conversion of the Chora Church into a mosque in November of last year, though that decision was not implemented until Erdoğan issued a decree that was published in the government newspaper today, reports orthodoxia.info.
The transformation of the church-museum into a mosque will go quickly, as was the case with Agia Sophia, officials say.
The Chora Monastery was built in 534 and is one of the oldest historical monuments in Istanbul. The Holy Savior Church is richly-decorated with 14th-century frescoes and mosaics of the Resurrection, the Last Judgment, and others, that are treasured throughout the Orthodox world. It was originally converted into a mosque a few decades after the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453, and was later converted into a museum following WWII.
A group of American art historians helped restore the church’s original mosaics, and it opened to the public in 1958.