Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/4/2013 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Nation's dwindling Greek population sees many churches abandoned, or retooled for Islam

Turkey has many historical and culturally significant Christian churches. However, the dwindling Greek population in Turkey has forced the closure of many of these churches - and now the government here is considering turning these structures into mosques.

The Stoudios monastery was at one time a pre-eminent Christian site. The Greek community is dismayed to hear that the government plans to restore it as a mosque.

The Stoudios monastery was at one time a pre-eminent Christian site. The Greek community is dismayed to hear that the government plans to restore it as a mosque.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/4/2013 (9 months ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Turkey, Greek population, churches, mosques, Stoudios monastery


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - There have been discussions that the Hagia Sophia, the most famous Byzantine structure in modern Istanbul, will be turned into into a mosque.

Many fear that the nation's Christian heritage will go the way of the Byzantine Stoudios monastery. Residing in the working-class, religiously mixed neighborhood of Samatya, the structure has been sadly neglected, becoming little more than weed-grown ruins.

The Stoudios monastery was at one time a pre-eminent Christian site. The Greek community is dismayed to hear that the government plans to restore it as a mosque.

Built just a couple of centuries after the Emperor Constantine rebuilt the ancient Greek city of Byzantium as Constantinople, the Stoudios monks were known for their religious poetry and their calligraphy. The monks produced beautifully illuminated manuscripts, some of which survive today.

The monastery at one time housed the Church of St. John the Baptist. Pillages by the Crusaders, and then the Turks left the monastery in ruins. Subsequent restorations were undone by two fires and an earthquake. Both the monastery and the Hagia Sophia were turned into museums in the 20th Century.

The Cabinet revoked the monastery's status as a museum last year, clearing the way for restoring it as a mosque, which the building had served for a period of time as well.

A restoration project is due to begin next year, when it will open to the public as a mosque, according to the government.

"The place is devastated - the dome has fallen in, it will need a lot of work," Adnan Ertem, head of Turkey's General Directorate of Foundations says. He adds that the site has historical importance for Turks as a mosque. Then he noted that, "Yes, it has an importance for Christians as well."

The announcement has come as a major disappointment to some. "I'm sorry to see the monastery come to public attention for this reason, because it's a very important place, both religiously and culturally," he says. "We were waiting for so long to hear that Stoudios might be restored, and now this," Mihail Vasiliadis says. Vasiliadis manages the Greek-language paper that serves what's left of Turkey's Greek population, which he says is probably fewer than 2,000 people these days.

Vasiliadis doesn't think the government, with roots in political Islam, is intent on reviving ill will toward religious minorities, something ethnic Greeks have a long and bitter history have here.

"So many cultural artifacts have been abandoned, and when they do restore things, they ignore Byzantine culture and focus on the last 500 years, the period of Muslim control," Vasiliadis says. "The abandoned places reflect the many cultures of Anatolia, but all this government cares about is consolidating the Muslim-led nation-state."

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Europe

Millions displaced from homes due to natural disasters Watch

Image of Last year, seasonal floods caused significant displacements in sub-Saharan Africa, notably in Niger, Chad, Sudan and South Sudan, countries also affected by conflict and drought.

By Laura Onita, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Almost 22 million people were forced to flee their homes due to natural disasters last year and the numbers uprooted could increase as urban populations grow, a refugee agency said on Wednesday. (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The majority were in Asia, where 19 million ... continue reading


Pope Francis invites Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet with him Watch

Image of It's not yet known how Chinese President Xi Jinping will respond to Pope Francis' request for a special meeting.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has reportedly invited the President of China, Xi Jinping to meet with him, either in the Vatican or Beijing. The pontiff wants to speak to the president in order to build a lasting global peace, which the Pope says is engaged in a "piecemeal" ... continue reading


Marriage and Holiness: Pope Marries Twenty Couples on the Exaltation of the Cross Watch

Image of One of the twenty couples who exchanged their vows in the presence of Pope Francis

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Much of the Press, including circles of the Catholic Press, focused on the unique path which some of the couples followed to the Sacrament of Marriage; even though they had all arrived at the Altar, offering their love to the Source of all true Love, for ... continue reading


Pope Francis Gives Impassioned Plea for an End to War: What Does it Matter to Me? Watch

Image of Pope Francis walks inside the Austro-Hungarian cemetery at Fogliano in Redipuglia September 13, 2014. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

By Catholic Online

With this - What does it matter to me?-  in their hearts, the merchants of war perhaps have made a great deal of money, but their corrupted hearts have lost the capacity to cry.  That - What does it matter to me?- prevents the tears.  Cain did not ... continue reading


SOLVED AT LAST: DNA testing nails Polish emigre as JACK THE RIPPER! Watch

Image of Aaron Kosminski, inset, a hopelessly insane Polish immigrant - unable to care for himself and left in the care of relatives - was able to successfully evade justice as the dreaded Jack the Ripper of 19th Century London.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

London's most notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper or "Springheel Jack" slashed and killed five prostitutes in the Whitechapel district in the 1880s. Never caught, countless theories sprung up over his identity through the 100-plus years. Some postulations ... continue reading


Rare U.S. coin discovered in Britain could fetch well above a million dollars at auction Watch

Image of Amateur treasure hunter, 42-year-old John Stoner had just begun to search a field in Nottinghamshire, England when he made a most remarkable discovery --

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Amateur treasure hunter, 42-year-old John Stoner had just begun to search a field in Nottinghamshire, England when he made a most remarkable discovery. He uncovered a 350-year-old threepenny coin, used by America's Pilgrim Fathers. The rare coin is expected to ... continue reading


What is this mysterious ring in the Danish countryside and from whence did it come? Watch

Image of The Viking forts found so far in Denmark all match this particular style, which may mirror earlier Roman camps used in England.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologists working in Denmark have discovered a distinctive ring-shaped Viking fortress, which is thought by some historians to have been used to launch an invasion of England. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The fortress was found on Zealand, a Danish ... continue reading


Pope Francis Reminds Us the Church is Our Mother Watch

Image of St. Peters

By Pope Francis

The Church is our mother because she has delivered us in Baptism. Whenever a child is baptized, he becomes a son of the Church, from that day, he is in the Church which cares for him as a caring mother, she makes us grow in faith and shows us, with the power of ... continue reading


Where can they go? A million Ukrainians have fled their war-torn country Watch

Image of Ukrainian refugees at a Russian train station.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United Nations has reported that the conflict in Ukraine, which began back in February 2014, has uprooted more than a million people, with even further mass displacement feared as fighting continues. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The total includes ... continue reading


Archaeologists find a very different type of 'treasure' - a 2,000-year-old toilet seat Watch

Image of Discovered at Vindolanda fort on Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland, the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Accustomed to finding priceless coins, artwork and historical artifacts, archaeologists in Great Britain have found an altogether different type of treasure - one that was desperately needed in ancient times - a wooden toilet seat, believed to be 2,000 years ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 12:31--13:13
31 Set your mind on the higher gifts. And now I am ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:2-3, 4-5, 12, 22
2 Give thanks to Yahweh on the lyre, play for him on ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:31-35
31 'What comparison, then, can I find for the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 17th, 2014 Image

St. Robert Bellarmine
September 17: Born at Montepulciano, Italy, October 4, 1542, St. Robert ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter