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Museum to Mosque: Why Hagia Sophia Matters

Canceling history has become popular these days. It started in America but has spread to Italy, Spain, England, Belgium, and most recently Turkey.  Some of the main techniques involve toppling and desecrating monuments and statues that function as outdoor museums, which tell the history of the people who have made history. You can start to know the history of a city by exploring the statues and monuments in city parks and common areas.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan just joined the others by declaring his intention to convert the majestic Christian Basilica, Hagia Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom) – currently a national museum and one of the most visited sites of Turkey – into a mosque. And the Council of State, Turkey’s highest administrative body, has decided he may do so.

What is the history behind Hagia Sophia?

[It] is distinguished by indescribable beauty, excelling both in its size, and in the harmony of its measures, having no part excessive and none deficient; being more magnificent than ordinary buildings, and much more elegant than those which are not of so just a proportion. The church is singularly full of light and sunshine; you would declare that the place is not lighted by the sun from without, but that the rays are produced within itself, such an abundance of light is poured into this church.

Procopius of Caesarea (circa 500-565 A.D.), a prominent Byzantine historian, described Hagia Sophia of Constantinople (now Istanbul) thus in his book De Aedificiis – On Buildings, written around 554.  He also credited the Emperor Justinian for promoting this magnificent work, among others.

Justinian’s church became an icon of Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. The emperor was so pleased with the result that during its dedication ceremony in December 537, he exclaimed: “O Solomon, I have surpassed thee!” comparing the church to the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.

Read more at The Catholic Thing 

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