Pope Francis about the opening of Hagia Sophia to worship in his weekly sermon, “My mind is in Istanbul. I think of Saint Sophia and I am suffering a lot. ” Turkish historians and theologians also reminded the Pope about the Cordoba Mosque (Kurtuba Ulu Mosque), which was converted into a church in Andalusia, and Hagia Sophia’s pillage in the Crusades.
Hagia Sophia The decision of the mosque to change its museum status and to open it again for worship as a mosque has found a great impact in the international community. While the reaction came from the West, the Muslim world expressed its satisfaction. Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of the Catholic world, addressed this issue in his Sunday sermon yesterday and said, “I am suffering a lot.” Historians and theologians, whom we refer to the Pope’s comments, made the following evaluations:
How many times did the Crusader Arrest Hagia Sophia?
Professor Dr. Ali Köse (Dean of Marmara Theology Faculty): “Looking at what the Catholic Church has done in history, our pain is deeper. When the Pope’s armies organized the Crusades to Jerusalem in the Middle Ages, they first stopped by Byzantine Istanbul, plundered the Hagia Sophia of the Orthodox Church and broke the icons. If the Pope opens and reads Wikipedia, he can see them. In the section where Hagia Sophia has a chronology, it is written that there was a Roman Catholic Cathedral between 1204 and 1261 In other words, the Pope’s predecessors converted the Orthodox temple into a Catholic temple by ‘sword force’. Andalusian Jews fled the Catholic massacre in 1492 and took refuge in the Ottoman Empire. What they do to Muslims does not end with counting. For this reason, the last person to talk about Hagia Sophia is the Pope. ”
‘MUSLIMS AND JEWS ARE PAINING AS WELL’
Professor Dr. Lütfi Şeyban (Medieval and Islamic Historian): “As I read the Pope’s sermon, I remind him of the persecution of the Muslim and Jewish people of the Andalusian nation through the Catholic Spanish church. They were burned and exiled on the streets. They experienced unexplainable suffering. Their sanctuary was destroyed and plundered. The Pope says he is suffering. Muslims and Jews also suffer remembering them. Small or large mosques, taken from Muslims, were turned into churches without exception. They’re still that way. When we visit the Kurtuba Mosque, when we want to prostrate, the officers even interfere with it and do not allow it. Let the Pope think about that too. ”
‘THE CATHETRAL STAYED IN THE HEART OF KURTUBA’
Professor Dr. Mehmet Özdemir (Islamic Historian)“The Christian armies were turning the great mosques into cathedral everywhere they conquered in Andalusia. In the beginning, they left some small mosques in the places where Muslims stayed. After 1502, small masjids were converted into churches. They also turned the Great Mosque of Kurtuba into a cathedral. They did this with huge rites and ceremonies. Muslims were never allowed in. They built another cathedral in the heart of the mosque in the 1500s. They destroyed the original structure of the mosque. These were made within the knowledge of the Popes. In order for the Pope to be consistent, he must be upset by the mosques and mosques that are converted into churches or cathedrals in Andalusia and other lands. ”
‘TRACES OF IZDIRAB IN HISTORICAL TEXTS’
Dr. Ersin Adıgüzel (Istanbul University, Department of History): “Since its foundation in 756, the city of Kurtuba was the capital of Andalusia. Kurtuba Ulu Mosque was the largest mosque built in this city. In 1236, after the Muslims lost this city, the mosque was turned into a cathedral. Great mosques in Granada, Valencia, Toledo, Malaga and other Andalusian cities were destroyed and the cathedral was built in its place. The Great Mosque of Kurtuba was turned into a cathedral without being destroyed. In the poems they wrote in those days, Muslims expressed their deep grief about this situation. Dozens, hundreds of mosques and masjids lost their qualities. Not only those in Andalusia, but all Muslims were hearing this suffering. You can easily see the traces of this suffering in historical and literary texts. ”
What did PAPA say?
Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of the Catholics, said he was ‘deeply painful’ about transforming Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque. Speaking at the weekly Sunday ritual in the Vatican, Pope Francis greeted those working in the seas and far from their loved ones, mentioning that the second Sunday of July is celebrated as ‘International Sea Day’. After lifting his head from the paper on which the text was written, he paused for a while, he said, “The sea takes my mind away, to Istanbul … I think of Hagia Sophia and I am deeply hurt.” In addition to this part of his remarkable speech, the Pope did not make any further comments.
CHURCH MADE IN 1236
Today, the ‘Córdoba Cathedral’, the Great Mosque (el-Mescidü’l-kebîr, el-Mescidü’l-mosque) in Cordoba, Spain, is the most famous and largest building of the Andalusian religious architecture. Abdurrahman I started the construction in 786. It was converted into a church after Andalusia fell into the hands of Catholic Christians in 1236. Its minarets were demolished and the bell tower was built. A cathedral was added to the middle section in the 1500s. It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1984. Muslims also made many attempts at UNESCO for the allocation of a part of the cathedral for worship, but no result was obtained. Currently, it serves both as a church and can be visited as a tourist.
RESPONSE TO UNESCO
Özgül Özkan Yavuz, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, said in his reply to UNESCO’s Hagia Sophia statement the previous day, “8. Spain Cordoba Mosque, which was built as a mosque in the 13th century and converted into a church in the 13th century and is still used as an active church open to worship, has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1984 ”.