Monday, September 7, 2020

After Refusing to Preserve It, Turkish Islamic Foundation Demolishes a Historic Greek Orthodox Church in Bursa


The Church of Saint George, which was restored and transformed into a cultural center by the Nilüfer Municipality in Bursa, was taken from the municipality and transferred to an Islamic Foundation. The historical building, which was neglected for seven years, was destroyed on September 1st, Gazete Duvar reported.

The Greek Orthodox Church, which was estimated to have been built in 1896, was converted into a mosque after the exchange in 1923, but became abandoned because it was not used after the Yeni Özlüce Mosque was built. The Nilüfer Municipality, which took on the historical building in 2006, restored the building within the scope of the project approved by the Cultural and Natural Heritage Conservation Board and opened it into service as the Özlüce Culture House in 2009. When the building was abandoned, it was restored by the Nilüfer Municipality and transformed into Özlüce Kultürevi.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Historic and Revered Chora Church in Istanbul Officially Violated By Being Converted to a Mosque


Turkey has ordered the re-conversion of Istanbul’s Chora church, also known as the Kariye Museum, which has served as a museum since 1945, into a mosque and opened it to Islamic worship, according to a presidential decree published in the Official Gazette on Friday 21 August 2020.

The decree stated that the site has been transferred to the administration of the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) and will be opened for Muslim worship in accordance with Article 35 of the Law on the Establishment and Duties of the Presidency of Religious Affairs.

The move comes shortly after a similar decision to re-convert Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia into a mosque from a museum.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The Monotheism of Islam and the Monotheism of Orthodox Christianity


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

In Islamic teaching there is talk of one God, who has no son. It emphasizes, therefore, the uniqueness and inaccessibility of God. God cannot have a son or a daughter. On the Mosque of Omar in Jerusalem is written the commandment: "Praise be Allah who has not taken unto himself a son." In the Koran it is repeatedly said: "Your God is One God; there is no god but He, the All-merciful, the All-compassionate." The teaching of the Koran on this subject is summarized as follows, "He, Allah, is One. Allah, on whom all depend. He has not begotten, nor was He begotten. And none is comparable to Him.”

Monday, July 27, 2020

Islamic Teaching Prohibits the Conversion of Churches Into Mosques


According to the Pact of Umar,* which has canonical status in Islamic jurisprudence, caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab came to Jerusalem in 637 after the conquest of Jerusalem and toured the city with Patriarch Sophronios of Jerusalem. During the tour of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the time for prayer came, and despite Sophronios's offer to Umar to pray inside the church, Umar chose to pray outside. According to Islamic tradition, the caliph's reason for declining to pray there was because in the future Muslims might say that Umar prayed here and use it as an excuse to build a mosque there. Therefore, Muslims are not allowed to build a mosque there. So Umar went outside the church, picked up a stone and threw it at a distance. He offered his prayers at the spot where the stone fell. And as he predicted, later when the Ayyubids reached that region, they built a mosque at that same spot where Umar ibn al-Khattab had offered the prayers, known today as the Mosque of Umar. Patriarch Sophronios, appreciating the caliph's intelligence, gave the keys of the church to him. Unable to refuse it the caliph gave it to a family of Muslims from Medina and asked them to open the church and close it; the keys of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre still remain with the Muslim family to this day.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Turkish President Erdogan Has Officially Signed a Decree Turning Hagia Sophia Into a Mosque


Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a decree on Friday to formally declare Hagia Sophia a mosque, mere minutes after Turkey’s administrative court annulled a 1934-dated decision that paved the way for the use of the 15-century-old structure as a museum.

Erdogan’s decree cited the Council of State’s verdict as the basis of his move for the transfer of the powers concerning the use of the Hagia Sophia to the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet).

Turkish daily Hurriyet reports that crowds were observed to be gathered in front of the Hagia Sophia after news broke out on the status change.





Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: "The conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque will turn millions of Christians around the world against Islam"


On June 30, 2020 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in his sermon for the feast of the Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles, in the Church of the Twelve Apostles at Feriköy, addressed the issue of the Turkish government wanting to reconvert Hagia Sophia into a house of worship for Muslims only and no longer list it as a museum. Among other things he said:

'The conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque is a widely discussed topic. In the context of the various discussions that have taken place about this subject, our Modesty has repeatedly expressed the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its spiritual children all over the world. In 2016, we even sent a Letter to the then Director of Religious Affairs, Prof. Mehmet Görmez, to whom we expressed our concern for the proposed alteration of the status of Hagia Sophia and we underlined that this unique monument obtained sacred value for both monotheistic religions, because it had served as a place of the worship of God for 900 years for the Christians and for 500 years for the Muslims. We concluded that Letter by saying that we consider as detrimental, Hagia Sophia, which, due to its dedication to the Wisdom of God is a point of encounter and a source of fascination for the faithful of both religions, to become, in the 21st century, a cause of confrontation and conflict.

Friday, June 26, 2020

On the Demonization of Yoga in the Orthodox Church


By Metropolitan Konstantinos of Singapore and South Asia 
(Ph.D in Sociology)

"Yoga". An attention-grabbing issue. With conflicting views and arguments. It makes ratings and causes disagreements on television. The presenters of the shows rub their hands. Proponents present it as a panacea for the human body and soul. On the contrary, critics accuse it of being presented in an attractive wrapper but with dark and occult content.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Mysticism (3 of 3)


...continued from part two.

Eastern Orthodox Mysticism

Two great artesian wells of mystical experience, upon which Orthodox Byzantine mysticism drew in its first phase, were Saint Gregory of Nyssa (335/340-394) and the monk Evagrios Pontikos (345-399). The former stressed that the soul can reach Him, Who is beyond any intellectual concept whatsoever, in the “bright darkness” and also defined the mystical experience as union with God in love. Evagrios placed the nous, the organ of direct understanding, at the center of mysticism.

In the 5th century, works attributed to Makarios formed a new source of inspiration for Orthodox Christian mysticism, underlining the concept that the center of the human person lies in the heart. Under the influence of Neo-Platonic philosophy, Evagrios saw the person as a nous imprisoned in matter and therefore held that the body played no part in the spiritual life. The “Makarian” texts, imbued with Biblical thought, view the person as a single whole. The basis of the mysticism which they represent is the incarnation of the Word. So unceasing prayer does not lead to the liberation of the spirit from the bonds of the flesh, but brings people into the eschatological reality of the kingdom of God with the whole of their existence - spirit and body.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Mysticism (2 of 3)


...continued from part one.

Buddhist Mysticism

Since mysticism is the immediate, intuitive relationship with the Absolute, it would be possible to claim, insisting on this strict definition, that there is no such thing as Buddhist mysticism, because, in the classic forms of this religion, there is no acceptance of the existence of the Absolute. Unlike the prophetic religions, whose message is defined by the word, Buddhism, as a religion of silence, rejects all ways of naming the Absolute, while, in depth, it allows it to seem that it accepts an ineffable Absolute, which it identifies with emptiness. Promoting the idea of “anatman”-“anatta” (non-self), sets as an ideal the achievement of “nirvana”. But even if it denies a real, positive Absolute, it accepts an absolute goal.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Mysticism (1 of 3)


By Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durrës and All Albania

Definition – Characteristics

The purpose of mysticism is an experiential, existential quest, direct relationship and spiritual union with God or the divine. This is sought with concentration, prayer, dispassion, contemplation and ecstasy. Mysticism is usually the intuitive element in the religious experience and manifests itself in almost all religions, from the primitive to the most highly-developed. Sometimes it springs up in the stony regions of external piety, giving fresh impetus to religious sentiment.

Because of the variety of forms it has assumed in the history of religions and the contradictory features it has been imbued with, there is no generally accepted definition. As a rule, mysticism, which expresses people’s immediate relationship with and experience of the Numinous, differs from the arcane occult and from apocryphal beliefs and techniques.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Nationalism in the Conflict Between Muslims and Romans


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The relationships and conflicts between religions have been analyzed many times, particularly between Islam and Christianity. Many angles can be examined on this issue, but in this article I would like to focus on the catalytic importance of nationalism in the conflict between Islam and Romiosini.

Monday, January 6, 2020

The Muslim Woman Who Dove To Retrieve the Holy Cross


The following event was reported in the Turkish media in February of 2003.

Nick Magginas
February 2003
Hurriyet Daily

This years Theophany in Constantinople had a surprise to it. The incident occurred in the historic suburb of the City called Yesilkoy, in the area of the airport. In this suburb the Treaty of San Stefano (03/03/1878) was signed between the Ottoman Empire and Russia.