Society 12:51 17/06/2020 Region

Armenian Patriarch suggests opening Greek church for Christian and Muslim worship

By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier

The recently elected Patriarch of Turkey, Sahak Mashalian, continues his controversial public statements thus antagonizing the Armenian community of Istanbul and Armenians worldwide. A few months ago he made critical remarks regarding the resolution adopted by the U.S. Congress recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

It is clear from the Patriarch’s statements that he wants to ingratiate himself to Turkish authorities and particularly Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Our repeated advice to him not to stick his nose in subjects that are not his responsibility has fallen on deaf ears. He does not seem to understand that he needs to remain quiet.

The whole world is aware of the controversy revolving around Pres. Erdogan’s repeated statements to reconvert the Hagia Sophia historic church to a mosque. In 1935, Ataturk had changed the status of the mosque to a museum.

Erdogan’s statements had raised a worldwide controversy particularly in Greece and among Greeks worldwide. Hagia Sophia was designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. Changing its status to a mosque will certainly anger people around the world.

This is the controversy that the Armenian Patriarch has foolishly dived into, just to please Erdogan. In recent days, there has been a lot of criticism about the Armenian Patriarch’s controversial suggestion.

Had the Armenian Patriarch any wisdom he would have first consulted with the prominent members of the Armenian community in Istanbul asking for their opinion. More importantly, he should have asked for the advice of the Ecumenical Greek Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Furthermore, has the Armenian Patriarch thought about asking for the advice of Islamic leaders in Istanbul whether it would be acceptable for them to practice their Islamic religion in the same structure as the Christians? To our knowledge, there is no such site in the world and the reason is that this is an unacceptable practice for Muslims.

The Armenian Patriarch’s heretical suggestion would also antagonize the Muslims in Turkey and President Erdogan. So much for the Patriarch trying to ingratiate himself to the Turkish authorities!

Patriarch Mashalian is inadvertently supporting the change of the status of Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque with a private area set aside for Christian worshippers. The only thing the Turkish authorities will conclude from the Patriarch’s statement is that he is in favor converting the church to a mosque, ignoring his suggestion that a corner of the mosque be allocated for Christian worship. How would the Armenian Patriarch react if someday the Turkish government decides to convert the Armenian Akhtamar church near Lake Van (now officially classified as a tourist site) to a mosque, allowing a small room for Christian worship?

To make matters worse, Patriarch Mashalian made his statement through a series of tweets. I wonder what prompted him to use the twitter to make such an announcement with serious consequences. “The Hagia Sophia should be opened to worship,” he said, stating that it is big enough for that purpose while suggesting a space for Christians. “Let the world applaud our religious peace and maturity. May Hagia Sophia become a symbol of the peace of humanity in our era.”

The Patriarch further stated that humanity was praying for such unity and suggested sharing the dome of Hagia Sophia: “Even though our faiths are different, don’t we believe in the same God?” Having been a place of worship for Christians for 1,000 years and another 500 years for Muslims, he stated that Hagia Sophia won’t mind it. “Hagia Sophia was built with the labor of ten thousand workers at an astronomical cost,” he said pointing out that for over 500 years numerous repairs have been made on the iconic building by the Fatih Sultan Foundation. He stressed that their aim was to preserve it as a place of worship, “not just a museum.” He said it would be more fitting as a place of worship where believers could kneel down in prayer in awe of the structure, rather than a touristic site full of visitors rushing around.” The Patriarch’s statement was immediately publicized by the Turkish media.

The first harsh reaction to the Patriarch’s naïve suggestion came from MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) leader Devlet Bahceli who ridiculed the idea that “Hagia Sophia is a mosque on Friday and a church on Sunday."

The Hagia Sophia Cathedral is one of the most significant religious sites particularly for Greeks. It was built in 537 AD by the Byzantine Empire. It was the world's largest building and an engineering marvel of its time. Hagia Sophia was converted into an imperial mosque in 1453, following the Ottoman occupation of Constantinople, nowadays Istanbul. The mosque was then converted to a museum in 1935 by Ataturk’s decree.

There is an interesting historical Armenian connection to Hagia Sophia. According to Wikipedia, “after the great earthquake of 25 October 989, which collapsed the Western dome arch, Emperor Basil II asked for the Armenian architect Trdat, creator of the cathedrals of Ani and Argina, to direct the repairs.... The extent of the damage required six years of repair and reconstruction; the church was re-opened on 13 May 994.”

We want to conclude by reassuring our Greek friends that the Armenian Patriarch’s undesirable statement does not represent the wishes of the Armenian people.



Source Panorama.am
Share |

Newsfeed

19:40
Simon Martirosyan: From Dadivank to Tokyo
Armenian weightlifter Simon Martirosyan (109 kg) was expected to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Martirosyan successfully lifted 195 kg in...
19:03
Vahan Hunanyan appointed Foreign Ministry spokesperson
Vahan Hunanyan has been appointed spokesperson of Armenia’s Foreign Ministry. A relevant order has been signed by acting Foreign...
18:45
Tokyo Olympics: Armenian wrestler Arsen Harutyunyan left out of competition
Armenian freestyle wrestler Arsen Harutyunyan has been left out of the competition at the Tokyo Olympics, the National Olympic Committee...
18:10
28 people killed in fires in Georgia this year
According to the National Statistics Office, 6,286 fires were reported in Georgia in the first two quarters of this year, killing 28 people and...
17:58
Artak Zakaryan: Authorities' 'fears are turning into nightmares'
Former Deputy Defense Minister of Armenia, RPA member Artak Zakaryan says the Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia (PAARA)...
17:25
One more Armenian soldier’s body found in Artsakh search operations
Artsakh rescuers on Wednesday found the remains of another fallen Armenian soldier as a result of their search operations for the 2020 Artsakh...
17:08
Three killed as passenger trains collide in Czech Republic
Two passenger trains collided in the southwest of the Czech Republic on Wednesday, killing three people and injuring dozens of...
15:02
Armenian forces prevent attempt by Azerbaijani drone to enter Armenia’s airspace
An Azerbaijani UAV attempted to cross into Armenia’s airspace in the Gegharkunik section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border on Wednesday,...
14:41
Edgar Ghazaryan: Another general, who demanded Pashinyan's resignation, sacked
Another general, who demanded the resignation of Nikol Pashinyan and his cabinet back in February, has been dismissed, Edgar Ghazaryan, former...
13:58
Attack targeting acting Afghan defense minister leaves 8 dead
A bombing attack that targeted Afghanistan’s acting defense minister killed at least eight people and wounded 20, authorities said...
13:51
Opposition MP to Armenia’s defense minister: ‘Who gave you the right to congratulate authorities on behalf of all servicemen?’
Security expert, MP Tigran Abrahamyan from the opposition I’m Honored bloc, denounced Armenia’s new Defense Minister Arshak...
13:07
Armenia reports 280 new COVID-19 cases on August 4
Armenia has confirmed 280 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 230,993 as of 11 a.m. Wednesday, August 4, the...
13:02
'France will always stand by you', Macron tells Armenians
French President Emmanuel Macron once again expressed support to Armenians in a post on Twitter on Tuesday, announcing the country’s...
12:36
Civil Contract MPs vote to elect Hakob Arshakyan deputy parliament speaker
Hakob Arshakyan from the ruling Civil Contract Party was elected Deputy Speaker of the Armenian National Assembly on Wednesday. 71 out of...
12:08
Rustam Badasyan set to head Armenia’s State Revenue Committee
Former Justice Minister of Armenia Rustam Badasyan is set to be appointed Chairman of the State Revenue Committee, according to the official...
11:48
Ombudsman: Azerbaijani servicemen stole 8 cows and 1 bull belonging to 3 families in Armenia’s Syunik
Azerbaijani servicemen stole 8 cows and 1 bull belonging to 3 families from the villages of Davit Bek and Chakaten in the Kapan community...
11:16
Situation on Armenian-Azerbaijani border relatively stable – Defense Ministry
The situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border was relatively stable on the night of August 4 and in the morning, the Defense Ministry of...
11:00
Kit Harington says ‘Game of Thrones’ ‘directly’ led to his mental health issues
Kit Harington has opened up about the toll Game of Thrones took on his mental health, revealing he had to take a year off after the HBO epic...
19:02
Armenian General Staff chief hosts Russian ambassador
Chief of the General Staff of the Armenian military, Lieutenant-General Artak Davtyan on Tuesday hosted Russian Ambassador to Armenia Sergey...
18:44
Armenian weightlifter Simon Martirosyan wins Olympic silver
Armenian weightlifter Simon Martirosyan won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. The athlete finished second in the men’s...
18:15
Arsen Babayan deplores ‘very unpleasant sight’ at parliament
Arsen Babayan, a former deputy chief of the parliament staff and former head of the parliament press service, took to Facebook on Tuesday to...
17:36
Georgia reports record 4,827 daily COVID-19 cases
The number of coronavirus infections in Georgia went up by 4,827 in the past 24 hours, reaching the highest daily number so far this year, TASS...
17:21
Tokyo Olympics: Armenia's Artur Aleksanyan wins silver
Armenian Greco-Roman wrestler, Olympic champion Artur Aleksanyan (97 kg) won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. Aleksanyan...
15:12
Aronian advances to Chessable Masters quarterfinals
Armenian GM Levon Aronian has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Chessable Masters, the eighth leg of the Champions Chess Tour. He was...
14:48
Senior UN officials: Breastfeeding central to eliminating child malnutrition
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore and WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a joint statement on the occasion of...
14:30
‘Discussions are underway’: MP comments on proposed deployment of Russian border guards along Armenian-Azeri border
The talks on the deployment of Russian border guards along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border are underway, ruling Civil Contract faction MP Ruben...
13:38
Russian peacekeepers practice modern combat tactics at training ground in Artsakh
As part of planned combat training exercises, the military personnel of CSS unit of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in...
13:25
Ishkhan Saghatelyan named opposition candidate for deputy parliament speaker
Armenia bloc MP Ishkhan Saghatelyan, a member of the ARF Supreme Council, has been named the opposition candidate for the post of deputy...
13:05
Twitter to collaborate with news sites to tackle disinformation
Twitter will collaborate with two of the largest international news providers, Reuters and the Associated Press, to debunk disinformation on its...
12:56
Armenia reports 237 fresh coronavirus cases on August 3
Armenia has confirmed 237 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 230,713 as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, August 3, the...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}