Istanbul’s Chora church turned into a mosque. Fears mount for fate of Hagia Sophia
by Marian Demir

The church, built in the 5th century, was originally dedicated to the Holy Savoir. It was transformed into a mosque in 1511; into museum in 1945. Erdogan's threats to curry favor with the support of the more integral Muslim world.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - The State Council has decided that the ancient Church of Saint Savoir  Chora, be returned "to its initial cult", that is to be used as a mosque. The pro-government newspaper "Yeni Şafak" reported this yesterday.

Orthodox Christians and Catholics fear that this decision could set a precedent for the Hagia Sophia, also under the threat of being transformed from a museum into a mosque.

The Church of St. Savior of Chora was built in the fifth century, and is located in the western district of Istanbul of Edirnekapı. It is one of the most splendid examples of Byzantine art, and still preserves mosaics and frescoes. Only since 1511 was it used as a mosque by the Ottoman Turks. In 1945 it was transformed into a museum until today.

The Basilica of Saint Sophia, a majestic building commissioned by Justinian in 532, was also used as a mosque after the fall of Constantinople. But it too, with the advent of the Turkish secularist government, was transformed into a museum in 1935.

On and off, to gain the support of the more integral Muslim world, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, threatens to turn it into a mosque again.

The decision of the State Council for the church of Chora could open the way for a “Mosque of St. Sophia ".