Turkey: Hagia Sophia holds first Ramadan evening prayer in 88 years

April 8, 2022

The Turkish government’s decision to convert Hagia Sophia to a mosque in 2020 was a deeply ill-advised act of memoricide that ignores Turkey’s rich Christian history and further threatens the religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the remaining Christians of that land. It was undertaken in defiance of the United States, Russia, France, Greece and many others. The full statement of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, on the conversion of Hagia Sophia is here

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Turkey, see here.

“Turkey’s Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque holds 1st Tarawih prayer in 88 years,” Anadolu Agency, April 1, 2022:

Turkey’s Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque in Istanbul held its first Tarawih prayer in 88 years late Friday, a special evening prayer during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

A number of events for Ramadan will also be held at the mosque, which was converted into a museum in 1934 and regained its status as a mosque in 2020, when it was opened for worship on July 24 of that year.

As part of COVID-19 restrictions in Turkey, however, the mosque could not be used since the pandemic began due to the risk of infection.

But with most of the population vaccinated and the number of new cases and fatalities declining and recoveries increasing daily, Turkish authorities decided to reopen the mosque for Ramadan, the holiest month of the year for Muslims.

Hagia Sophia was built in the year A.D. 532. It was turned into a mosque in 1453 after the conquest of Istanbul….