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Friday prayers at Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque for the first time in 86 years in Istanbul (Reuters)
ISTANBUL: Fulfilling the dreams of its Islamic-oriented youth, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday inducted hundreds of worshipers Muslim Prayers within 86 years Hagia Sophia, The Istanbul landmark that served as one of the most important churches of Christianity, before a mosque and a museum converted into a Muslim worship site.
Thousands of other Muslim faithful people arrived Turkey A specially designated area outside the Byzantine era monument to be included in the inaugural prayers.
Many others were removed, while leaders of the Orthodox Christian Church in Greece and the United States declared a “day of mourning” upon the return of Hagia Sophia as a mosque.
Erdogan began the prayers reciting from the Quran. The head of Turkey’s religious authority, Ali Erbus, led the ceremony and prayed that Muslims would not be “forbidden” again, the right to worship in the internationally celebrated 6th century structure.
The president said that about 350,000 people attended Friday’s prayer.
Rejecting international criticism, Erdogan earlier this month issued a decree to restore the building as a mosque, soon after which a Turkish High Court ruled that Hagia Sophia had illegally operated for more than eight decades. The first was built in a museum.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the structure has been renamed “The Grand Hagia Sophia Mosque”.
The move caused uproar in Greece, the United States and Christian churches that spoke of maintaining Erdogan as a museum for Istanbul’s multi-religious heritage and the status of the structure as a symbol of Christian and Muslim unity. .
Pope Francis Expressed his grief.
Built in 537 by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, the Hagia Sophia was transformed into a mosque with the 1453 Ottoman conquest of Istanbul. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founding leader of the secular Turkish Republic, converted the structure into a museum in 1934.
Although the sultan’s pavilion, an annex to the Hagia Sophia, has been open for prayers since the 1990s, religious and nationalist groups in Turkey have long yearned for the nearly 1,500-year-old Addiction, known as the legacy of Ottoman Sultan Mehmat Is considered in The winner, be brought back to a mosque.
“This Hagia Sophia is far from her prison chains. This was the biggest dream of our youth, ”Erdogan said last week. “It was the yearning of our people and it has been fulfilled.”
Erdogan described its conversion by the founding leaders of the republic into a museum as a mistake that is being rectified.
In neighboring Greece, tolls and flags flew from half-staff in hundreds of churches across the country to protest the decision to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Archbishop Eremonos, leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, will perform a special service on Friday at the Athens Cathedral. Churches in Athens, Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki, are also organizing wiggles.
Stelio Petes Petes, a spokesman for the Greek government, said in an interview with the private, “Today is a difficult day … The conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque casts a shadow over us – something that not only Christians all over the world Rather shakes the Greeks as well. ” Channel Open TV. “We have warned for some time that this will create an inevitable difference between Turkey and the Christian world.”
The history and religious traditions of the Byzantine Empire, mainly Greek-speaking and Orthodox Christians in Greece, are influential.
The Church’s protests also coincided with Greek military alerts on a planned Turkish maritime survey to protest Greece and Turkey over a planned dispute over mineral rights in the eastern Mediterranean.
In New York, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America described the opening prayers as “a violation of all standards of cultural and spiritual adventurism and religious harmony and mutual respect.”
Archbishop Alpedofors of America held a meeting with the US President Donald Trump And vice president Mike pence Thursday in Washington to discuss concerns over reconstruction.
In his sermon, Erbas stated that Mehmat the Conqueror had given Hagia Sophia “to believers on the condition that it remain a mosque until the last day.”
“Any property that is endowed is violent in our faith and anyone who touches it burns it,” Erbus said.
In Istanbul, hundreds camped near the structure overnight. Turkish media reported that dozens of worshipers neglected dozens of people to flee to Hagia Sophia through a police outpost and to break social security practices, due to a coronovirus outbreak.
Turkey has vowed to protect the artifacts of Hagia Sophia, saying that it will be open to meeting Muslims and non-Muslims during prayer hours. During the prayer, mosaics of the structure depicting Christian figures are being covered with white grapes like sails.
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