Church that Held the 7th Ecumenical Council at Nicea to be Turned into Mosque

Source: Vatican Insider

Hagia Sophia in Nicea, where the Seventh Ecumenical Council was held in 787, is about to be declared a mosque by the Turkish authorities.

As the Turkish press reports, the call to prayer was sung from the Muezzin last Thursday, for the first time since the founding of the Turkish Republish in 1923. The minaret was added to the church in the city that the Turks called “Iznik” in the Ottoman age. Last year it was restored. With the prayer to be said at the beginning of the Islamic feast of sacrifice on Sunday morning, the former church will be ready for Islamic religious ceremonies.

The decision by the office of the Administrative Council, the competent authority, has sparked fierce debate. Selcuk Mülayim, of the University of Marmara, an art historian, underlined the building’s importance in the history of Christianity and warned that the move would mark the beginning of protests from all over the world.

Iznik’s chamber of commerce criticized the move as lacking any sense, since the small city lives off tourism. Equally controversial is the issue of whether it is the Council’s duty to explain how the former church was changed from a museum into a mosque. The office explained that the building had been marked out by the community “unjustifiably” as a museum, since it had never been used as a museum before. Last year, a sign was posted in front of the restored church building, with “Museum” written on it; a guard made visitors pay for an admission ticket.

In Hagia Sophia, the bishops of the Roman empire gathered in 787 to decide over the Byzantine iconoclastic controversy, and to approve the veneration of icons. Nicea was also the meeting place of the First Ecumenical Council, in the year 325. The palace where the Council took place no longer exists. Hagia Sophia was transformed into a mosque by the Muslims in 1331, when they conquered the city.

After a fire, it was restored by the architect Mimar; it was later destroyed in the battle of Bursa in the Turkish war of independence in 1920. The ruins were restored in 2007 and have attracted Christian religious tourism.


  1. Just another blatant indication that the once secular Turkey is quickly descending into another Islamic State. Muslims have converted countless churches and Hindu temples into mosques over the centuries. They may cry foul with the Cathedral in Cordova, but the muslims had built the mosque on top of a destroyed church. This is what they do. They build/convert victory mosques where they can. Non-muslims in Islamic societies who do not convert to Islam must feel themselves subdued, as prescribed by their prophet Muhammad, which is proclaimed in their Quran.

  2. 1331? where does that come from? wasn’t it 1453 when Constantinople was taken and Hagia Sophia turned a mosque?

  3. I thought that Turkey agreed this year to return all of the Greek Orthodox and Ecumenical Patriarchate institutions it had taken over to Greece and the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The primary reason for this decision was because the European Union’s Court of Human Rights had decided in other cases that Turkey has an obligation to do so.

    Now, we see that Turkey has contradicted itself and is violating the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. The European Union must take punitive action against Turkey if this is true.

  4. cynthia curran :

    Well, it should be made into a museum like Hagia Sophia and Sergus and Bacchus, so their is no fighting over whether it should be a church or mosque. Its a historical building of ancient significant.

  5. Paging all archons…. archons please report to Nicea to defend the Church ASAP.

  6. Vice President Biden to Visit 79th Street on Wednesday ahead of visit to Turkey

    Remember the good old days when the media touted Obamakis and Bidenopoulos and how they would help the Greek Community and the EP? Today that Arab Spring is not looking too good for Christians throughout the region including the EP. Have Obama and Biden done anything positive for the EP or is this stop just a customary political pitstop to fortify the the Greek base in NY for 2012 and get some good photos for the next issue of the Orthodox Observer. One could make the argument that the policies of the Obama adminstration have been harmful to Orthodox Christians in America and around the world.

    I doubt much will come of this. These political visits are all the same. Same words from the Archons, same words the Archbishop and same words from the politicians. Meanwhile nothing will really happen and the possibility of a real time persecution of Christians throughout the region looms large.

    • Andrew,

      You are misreading this…it’s really part of the Obama jobs program…i.e., SAVING theirs!


      Anyone still believing these two clowns are going to to do anything for the Greeks (or anyone else) must be smoking something. On the other hand, perhaps we should be grateful….I mean…3 years in and the Greeks still control 60% of Cyprus. If you compare that to their actions on the economy…we’re in relatively good shape.

      Best Regards

      • Dean, what this visit by Biden should also remind us of is that the GOA is completely incapable of leading the Episcopal Assembly or a united Orthodox Church in America. This is because the GOA and its leadership cannot separate ethnic issues from Orthodox issues in America. Omogenia (race) comes before Orthodoxy.

        Archbishop Demetrios could have easily greeted the VP as head the the Assembly of Bishops thus showing at minimum good will in representing all Orthodox Christians. I would have welcomed any such an effort. However this is not the case nor will it ever be the case because 79th Street is beholden to the politics of the Greek state and the money it provides. However, one wonders how much money is going to flow to 79th Street or Constantinople if the Greek Economy Crashes and its currency is basically worthless.

        • Geo Michalopulos :

          Andrew, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Biden’s visit is a joke. He’s paying a visit to “the Archbishop of America” and the same archbishop is talking about –what? homelessness? increased joblessness? the collapse of the family? No, Cyprus, FYROM, the Greek bailout. Nothing at all about this “America” that he’s the supposed “Archbishop of.”


  7. George the brevity of the 79th Street press release struck me on Biden’s visit. It was basically 5 lines that said we discussed items of mutual interest. The press release is notable because it is short. Maybe 79th Street got a message they did not want to hear.

    And to follow-up on your point, it would be nice if the Archbishop of America actually addressed issues facing Americans but then again 79th street knows little about a recession, unemployment or making ends meet in the real world. You do have to wonder what is going to happen if Obama gets his wish and taxes some of those “elevated” members of the Greek Community so much that there ability to fund GOA operations becomes reduced to a great degree.

    Afterall, if the government takes an extra miliion or two that is million or two less to give to the Church.


  1. […] 11 ноября. ПРАВМИР. Софийский собор в Никее, в котором состоялся Седьмой Вселенский Собор в 787 г., турецкие власти вот-вот ​​объявят мечетью, сообщает […]

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