HagiaSophiaInterior1 A brief background:  The original was built in 360 A.D., burned down twice and the current building was started in 532.  It was a mosque from 1452 to 1934 and opened as a museum in secular Istanbul, Turkey in 1935.

Now the International Congregation of Agia Sophia, a US-based group founded in 2005 with the purpose of returning the building as a place of worship for all the world's Christians, is planning on holding a liturgy there on September 17, the Orthodox feast day for Saint Sophia.

(Hagia, Agia and Saint are all the same word in different languages.)

The group has notified the Turkish government but I would not expect them to receive permission for this.  Nor, I think, would I like to see them succeed in their ultimate goal. 

Mosaic2 When Karin and I visited Istanbul—by the way, many Greeks still refer to it as Constantinople and that is what the railroad signs say—we were impressed that this superlative structure could be so well maintained and displayed in the predominately Islam country.  The Christian mosaics are displayed as predominately as the Islamic art work.  We felt this public building gave us hope that Christians and Muslims can cooperate peacefully.

What do you think?  Comments welcome.

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