Turkey officially opens former Byzantine Chora Church as mosque

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Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan formally opened a former Byzantine church in Istanbul as a mosque on Monday, four years after his government had designated it as a Muslim house of prayer. 

Despite criticism from neighboring Greece, the formally converted Church of St. Saviour (or Holy Saviour) in Chora, known as Kariye in Turkish, was a church for centuries, Like Hagia Sophia, and later operated as a museum for decades before it was turned into a mosque. 

Turkey to convert iconic Byzantine Chora church into mosque. Photo Ekathimerini IHA.
Turkey to convert iconic Byzantine Chora church into mosque. Photo: Ekathimerini / IHA.

According to Ekathimerini, Erdogan remotely presided over a ceremony on Monday to mark the opening of the Chora – as well as other recently-restored structures – from a conference hall at his palace complex in Ankara, Turkey.

“May it bring good fortune,” Erdogan said during the televised event.

The decision to convert Haghia Sophia and the Chora Church into mosques was interpreted as an effort to strengthen Erdogan’s ruling party’s conservative and religious support base in the midst of an economic depression.

Source: Ekathimerini

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