ASIA/TURKEY - The frescoes in the ancient church of Trabzon destroyed, transformed into a mosque

Tuesday, 17 May 2016 religious fundamentalism  


Trabzon (Agenzia Fides) - The ancient Byzantine church of Aghia Sophia (St. Sophia) in Trabzon, converted into a mosque in 2013, was severely damaged due to the work carried out for its transformation into a Muslim place of worship. This was reported by local sources consulted by Agenzia Fides. Heavy renovation led, among other things, to the destruction of frescoes and the total coverage of mosaics.
According to what is reported by Agos, Turkish-Armenian bilingual newspaper, also the creation of separate spaces for men and women led to heavy interventions that affected the walls of the former church, with the introduction of dividing walls.
The church, built in 1250, had already been converted into a mosque the first time in Ottoman times, in the sixteenth century. In 1964 the Turkish authorities at the time had ordered the transformation into a museum. In 2013, in line with the "neo-Ottoman" vocation that characterizes the current Turkish political leadership, the building was again converted into a mosque, despite appeals with which Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I had pointed out that there was "no need" to put in place a similar conversion. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 17/05/2016)