Tags: Religion | Catholic bishops | Hagia Sophia | Turkey | mosque | day of mourning

US Catholic Bishops Declare 'Day of Mourning' Over Hagia Sophia Becoming Mosque

woman in a hijab and mask walks with a child in front of the hagia sophia
People walk in front of Hagia Sophia on July 11, 2020 in Istanbul, a day after a top Turkish court revoked the Hagia Sophia's status as a museum, clearing the way for it to be turned back into a mosque. (Ozan Kose/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 22 July 2020 01:48 PM

The United Stated Conference of Catholic Bishops has teamed up with the Greek Orthodox Church in declaring Friday a “Day of Mourning” over the conversion of the Hagia Sophia into a mosque, Breitbart reports. 

The USCCB tweeted out an announcement of the day of “mourning and manifest grief” and accepted an invitation by the Greek Orthodox Church in America issued to “all Christians and people of goodwill to join in a Day of Mourning on July 24 for Hagia Sophia.”

The invitation asks that “every Church toll its bells, every flag be raised to half-mast and that the Akathist Hymn is chanted or the rosary recited in the evening.”

Turkey recently decided to turn the basilica of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. The Hagia Sophia was originally built as a Christian church under the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 537 A.D. It served as the main seat of the Eastern Orthodox church for centuries until it was converted into an imperial mosque by the Ottoman Empire.

In 1934, the Turkish Council of Ministers, under secular Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, turned the building into a museum. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently recommissioned Hagia Sophia as a mosque and covered the sacred Christian imagery following a court decision challenging its status as a museum. 

The Day of Mourning will coincide with the first day of Muslim prayer at the Hagia Sophia, according to the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church.

“Knowing that on Friday, July 24th, there will be an ‘inauguration’ of this program of cultural and spiritual misappropriation and a violation of all standards of religious harmony and mutual respect,” the church’s website states, “we call upon all the beloved faithful of our Holy Archdiocese to observe this day as a day of mourning and of manifest grief.”

In a joint statement last week, Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, president of the USCCB, and Scranton Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, said they joined “Pope Francis and our Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters in expressing deep sadness over the decree by Turkey’s president to open Hagia Sophia as a mosque.”

They urged the Turkish leader to “reverse this unnecessary and painful decision and restore Hagia Sophia as a place of prayer and reflection for all peoples.”

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The United Stated Conference of Catholic Bishops has teamed up with the Greek Orthodox Church in declaring Friday a "Day of Mourning" over the conversion of the Hagia Sophia into a mosque...
Catholic bishops, Hagia Sophia, Turkey, mosque, day of mourning
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Wednesday, 22 July 2020 01:48 PM
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