Turkey reschedules Chora Church conversion to a mosque in May

Chora Church Istanbul

The General Directorate of Foundations denies the reports about the first Muslim prayer on February 23

In May, the Chora Church in Istanbul will be converted into a mosque, according to a new announcement from the General Directorate of Endowments of Turkey, which refutes the reports that the first Muslim prayer will be held on February 23.

The Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency, citing the official announcement, reports that the restoration works at the Chora Church are in the final phase, and work has been launched to dedicate it to Islamic religious worship by May.

The exact date will be announced once the work is completed.

Chora Church

In the same announcement, it is pointed out that the information coming from unofficial sources, which emerged on Tuesday regarding the operation of Chora Church as a mosque on February 23, is not true.

The church of Agios Sotiros in Chora, the catholicon of what was once a monastic complex, dates from the 6th AD. Century, while its unique mosaics and frescoes were created in the 14th century, from 1305 to 1320, during the reign of Palaiologos.

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It is the monument with the most elaborate Byzantine mosaics preserved in Constantinople, together with Hagia Sophia and the Monastery of Pammakaristos, which also functions as a mosque under the name of Fethiye.

The Chora Church was converted into a mosque in 1511, 58 years after the Fall of Constantinople, and by the decision of the Council of Ministers of Turkey in 1945, it became a museum.

The ex Byzantine Church of the Holy Saviour of Chora the Chora Museum panoramio

After this decision, specialists from the United States carried out a huge restoration and maintenance project of the mosaics, removing the plasters that covered them.

In 2019, Turkey's Council of State (Danistay) annulled the 1945 decision, and a year later, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that it would reopen as a mosque.

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