Dear Brother Archons,
Only days out from the Second Archon International Conference on Religious Freedom in Berlin, and we see just how close the dangers are to the Mother Church of Constantinople. As reported in Hurriyet Daily News today, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç spoke unabashedly of his hope to see Istanbul’s “Hagia Sophia Museum” to be converted into a mosque. He furthered this provocation by in fact calling it the “Hagia Sophia Mosque” as he spoke to reporters. Brother Archons! If there was ever a time that we need to step up to our responsibilities as Defenders of the Faith, it is now.
The Berlin Conference is an extraordinary opportunity for us to get our message out – a message that echoes religious freedom not only for ourselves, but for all people. It is time for all Archons to lift up the cross on our own shoulders and help bear the burden. Every day, the threats against the worldwide and spiritual ministry of His All Holiness increase, and if we are not there to answer, then who will be?
Please take this moment to offer yet again to the Holy Mother and Great Church of Church. If we are to free the Great Church from her long captivity, then initiatives like the Berlin Conference must go forward at the highest levels.
Let us, my friends, take responsibility for the high honor bestowed upon us by the Most Holy Ecumenical Patriarchate, and do all we can to serve Christ and defend His Holy Church. Thank you for your generous support.
In the Service of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,
Anthony J. Limberakis, MD
Turkish Deputy PM expresses ‘hope’ to see Hagia Sophia as mosque
Hurriyet Daily News
Nov. 16, 2013 By Doğan News Agency
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has expressed his hope to see Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Museum be used as a mosque, while already calling it the “Hagia Sophia Mosque” while speaking to reporters.
“We currently stand next to the Hagia Sophia Mosque … we are looking at a sad Hagia Sophia, but hopefully we will see it smiling again soon,” Arınç said in a speech during the opening ceremony of a new Carpet Museum, located adjacent to the ancient Hagia Sophia complex.
He cited two other complexes with the same name in Turkey that have recently been converted into mosques.
“We have recently reopened two mosques with the same name to worship, one in İznik and the other in Trabzon. These were already mosques, but they were being used for different purposes,” Arınç said.
“There were no legal objections about İznik’s Hagia Sophia, but there was one about Trabzon’s. Fortunately, we now have [real] judges in Turkey, which is a state of law, and Trabzon’s Hagia Sophia has been legally registered as a mosque,” the deputy prime minister said.
“I won’t say that I wish same for Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia because you will misunderstand me. But these are what I feel when I talk about it,” he added.
Arınç also referred to an article of real estate law, which states that “Worship places cannot be used for purposes other than their aims.”
“Trabzon’s Hagia Sophia Mosque remained a mosque for centuries, but it turned into a museum after someone made a decision,” he added, particularly criticizing the “selling of tickets” to enter these buildings.
The status of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, with a number of campaigns to open it for Muslim prayers being initiated, despite suggestions that this would be disrespectful to the building’s past as a church.